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Moldova Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

In March 2020 the pro-Russian Socialist (Partidul Socialiştilor din Republica Moldova, PSRM) party, which ruled in a minority government since November 2019, and the opposition Democratic Party (Partidul Democrat din Moldova: PDM) formed a new coalition government which now has support of a parliamentary majority of 55 out of 101. The new coalition is likely to strengthen President Igor Dodon of PSRM, ahead of the scheduled presidential election, which is to be held in October–November 2020, improving his electoral chances.The new cabinet is likely to reorient foreign policy towards Russia and away from the EU, with a focus on new trade deals with Russia and attempts to secure Russian investments, and Moscow’s support on reintegration of the breakaway Transdniestria. The new cabinet will also likely jeopardise the planned anti-corruption measures and overhaul of the judiciary previously planned by the reformist coalition government headed by ACUM bloc’s co-leader Maia Sandu in June–November 2019. With a foreign policy reorientation under the new Socialist rule, the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have suspended disbursement of new macroeconomic assistance, unfrozen by Sandu’s cabinet in September 2019, thereby causing renewed delays, renegotiations, and in some cases cancellation of state contracts.After estimated GDP growth of 4.4% in 2019, Moldova’s economic performance is projected to weaken in 2020–21 amid domestic uncertainty and softer external demand, impacted partly by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.Amid political uncertainty and high inflation, our first-quarter forecast assumed the policy interest rate would remain stable in 2020, at 5.5%. Nevertheless, the central bank unexpectedly slashed rates to 4.5% in March. Moldova's new prime minister Ion Chicu signalled the country may take a break from the International Monetary Fund once the current deal expired in March 2020. However, any interruptions would threaten access to much-needed funds from other international creditors.
Last update: March 24, 2020

Operational Outlook

Successive governments have declared their goal of attracting foreign investment to Moldova, but operational obstacles remain high. Widespread corruption is the primary risk, in the form of a politicised law enforcement and judiciary, and bribe requests from officials. The current cabinet, reshuffled in March 2020, also pledged to reduce corruption. The conclusion of an Association Agreement with the EU in 2014, including a free-trade agreement, is likely to improve the operational environment in the long term if EU standards are passed and thoroughly implemented. The new cabinet's commitment to implementing EU-mandated reforms is not guaranteed, however.

Last update: March 25, 2020

Terrorism

Moderate

IED or firearm attacks against commercial assets or affecting business activities are unlikely, despite the proliferation of arms. The polarisation of the political debate between the pro-Russian and pro-EU side, driven in large part by the conflict in neighbouring Ukraine, poses a moderate risk of groups of armed individuals seeking to emulate the takeovers of buildings by pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine. However, authorities are alert to this particular risk, with several arrests made before the November 2014 parliamentary election of suspected individuals. As a result, such activity would likely be precipitated by a collapse of central government authority, which is currently unlikely.

Last update: February 28, 2020

Crime

Organised crime is widespread, with domestic, Russian, Ukrainian and other groups active. The country's location close to the Black Sea and neighbouring the EU, its weak and under-resourced border enforcement, and the separatist Transdniestria republic in the country's east make it both a hub and an origin country for smuggling of arms, drugs and people. Financial crime is also pervasive; the alleged theft of around USD1-billion-worth of assets from three banks in 2014 destabilised the country's financial system. However, violent crime – such as extortions, kidnappings or shootouts – is relatively rare and unlikely to affect expatriates or foreign businesses.

Last update: February 28, 2020

War Risks

The separatist, Russia-backed Transdniestria republic's status, a frozen conflict since 1992, is unlikely to be resolved politically in the one-year outlook. However, a resumption of armed conflict is unlikely, and violent incidents in the security zone between Transdniestria and Moldova proper are likely to be rare. Russia is unlikely to intervene militarily in Transdniestria or annex the region, and will probably instead keep pushing politically for the region to gain a "special status" within a federalised Moldova, which Moldova's government would resist. Intervention or annexation by Russia would carry low violent risk as Moldova would be unlikely to seek to retake the breakaway region by force.

Last update: February 28, 2020

Social Stability

High

With the new minority PSRM government formed in November 2019, civil unrest risks will likely increase in the one-year outlook, especially ahead of the presidential election in late 2020. Protests are most likely to be non-violent, with regular turnout of several hundred but occasionally reaching up to the tens of thousands, such as over 40,000 in September 2015. Violence is only likely if protesters attempt to storm into government buildings, triggering a forcible response from the police. Such incidents in Moldova are likely to be rare.

Last update: February 28, 2020

Health Risk

Very high

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Tick-Borne Encephalitis: For stays in rural zones and for hiking enthusiasts (for children over the age of one).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

Regarding natural risks, potential visitors should note that flooding and landslides are common. During winter, heavy snowfalls may disrupt transport and cause power outages.

Moldova is situated in an active seismic zone. The country is subject to light tremors from time to time but there have been no reported consequences.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Moderate

Police checkpoints are frequently set up on Moldovan roads, and identity checks on pedestrians can also occur. Therefore, it is advised to always carry a form of identification on your person.

Moldovan roads are among the most under-developed in the region. Most street lights are not functional, even in urban areas, which makes driving at night very dangerous. Horse-drawn wagons are still common in rural areas but are seldom fitted with reflective warning signs, which, when combined with the lack of street lighting, makes them difficult to see. Driving under the influence of alcohol is forbidden.

Pedestrians walk alongside the road due to the absence of sidewalks in most areas. If walking at night, it is recommended to carry a small flashlight.

Inclement weather in winter makes driving a bigger challenge, as snow removal operations are chaotic in Chisinau and nonexistent in rural areas. It is mandatory to travel with lights on and winter tires installed from November 1 to March 31.

Trains are slow and dilapidated; travelers are advised against taking trains to or from Russia. Traveling by train between Chisinau and Bucharest is a lengthy process; it takes 13 to 14 hours to travel between the two cities, located 460 km (286 mi) away from each other. Trains must wait several hours at the border to change axletrees, as tracks do not have the same width in Moldova as in Romania.

Minibuses do not always comply with safety standards; it is advised to only use those fitted with seatbelts.

Taxis from official companies are largely safe, although there are reports of females being assaulted in taxis late at night or early in the morning. Ask your hotel for the contact details of reputable taxi companies. In addition, taxis are not always equipped with a meter; it is best to negotiate the price of the fare before entering the vehicle.

Chisinau International Airport (KIV) is currently under renovation.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Moldova has a tempered continental climate, with relatively mild winters and long hot summers. The average temperature in January is -5°C in the north and -3°C in the south.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +373
Police: 902
Ambulance: 903

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019