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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)


Membership status: candidate country

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EU - Moldova Relations

The EU cooperates with Moldova in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy and its eastern regional dimension, the Eastern Partnership, with the objective to bring Moldova closer to the EU.

Moldova’s EU path

On 3 March 2022, Georgia applied for EU membership. On 17 June 2022, the European Commission presented its Opinions on the applications submitted by Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. Based on the Commission’s Opinion, Moldova was given a European perspective on 23 June 2022 by unanimous agreement between the leaders of all 27 EU Member States.

The Commission’s Opinion outlined nine steps which Moldova needed to address in order to progress on the path to the EU. It was complemented by Commission’s analytical report on country’s alignment with EU acquis of 2 February 2023. A more detailed review was part of the 2023 Enlargement Package reports, presented on 08 November 2023, where Moldova was included for the first time. The Commission also recommended opening accession negotiations with Moldova. On 14 December 2023, European Council decided to open accession negotiations with the country.

Key Milestones

  1. December 2023
    European Council decides to open accession negotiations
  2. November 2023
    Commission recommends opening accession negotiations

    Moldova included in the Enlargement Package reports for the first time

  3. June 2023
    Commission oral update to the Council on the progress in the 9 steps
  4. February 2023
    Commission’s analytical report on country’s alignment with EU acquis
  5. June 2022
    European Council grants candidate status
  6. June 2022
    Commission Opinion recommends candidate status
  7. March 2022
    Application for EU membership
  8. July 2016
    Association Agreement and DCFTA enter into force
  9. June 2014
    Signature of the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA)

EU Solidarity with Moldova – most recent initiatives

Factsheet: EU solidarity with the Republic of Moldova

Factsheet: EU crisis response to the war in Ukraine

On 28 June 2023 President von der Leyen presented a Support Package for the Republic of Moldova with five priorities aimed at addressing the impact of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and bringing Moldova closer to the European Union:

• Facilitating economic development and connectivity through the Priority Action Plan for trade under the DCFTA and the dedicated flagships of the Economic and Investment Plan (EIP). These focus on support to SMEs, trade, energy efficiency, human capital development as well as connectivity. Under the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes initiative, the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for Transport will provide funding to projects addressing bottlenecks at key border crossing points. The priority is also aimed at addressing challenges faced by cross-border communities through strengthened Interreg programmes. Finally, building on the recent achievement to reduce roaming prices, we are working towards a long-term roaming arrangement.

• Supporting Moldova's reforms through strengthening administrative capacity, advisory services focusing on challenges arising on the enlargement path, dedicated training and support programmes as well as increasing the participation of Moldova in EU programmes like Horizon Europe, Fiscalis, Customs, LIFE and EU4Health.

• Ensuring Moldova's energy security through increasing domestic electricity production, participating in the EU common gas purchasing mechanism, boosting renewables and focusing on energy efficiency.

• Enhancing Moldova's security through targeted actions guided by the High Level Political and Security Dialogue; expanding cooperation through the newly-launched EU Partnership Mission to Moldova, the EU-Moldova Support Hub for Internal Security and Border Management, the EU Border Assistance Mission, as well as with European agencies notably Frontex, Europol, Eurojust and CEPOL; strengthening Moldova's defence sector through the European Peace Facility, and its internal security and border management through targeted investments and provision of equipment.

• Countering foreign information manipulation and interference, including disinformation, and enhancing strategic communication through providing technical support to the Moldovan government and capacity building for independent media civil society and youth to address disinformation and to communicate actively on the benefits of EU integration.

The EU’s indicative bilateral allocation to Moldova for the period 2021-24 is €260 million (€65 million per year). Since the start of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, Moldova has been tackling significant challenges, including large numbers of refugees, inflation, threats to its energy supplies, violations of its airspace, as well as a multitude of hybrid actions such as disinformation and cyber-attacks. The EU has already mobilised €1.2. billion to help Moldova in facing these crises since the autumn of 2021.

EU assistance is based on strict conditionality, and is linked to satisfactory progress in reforms and the respect of the rule of law, effective democratic mechanisms and human rights.

In the medium to long term, the EU continues to work together with Moldovan authorities to implement the Economic and Investment Plan (EIP). Under the EIP, the EU will mobilise around €1.6 billion in public and private investments including for five flagships that have been identified together with the Moldovan authorities.

1. Economic development through direct support for 50,000 Moldovan SMEs;

2. Enhanced EU-Moldova Trade including construction of an Inland Freight Terminal in Chisinau;

3. Energy efficiency through refurbishment of district heating systems;

4. Improved connectivity through anchoring Moldova in the Trans-European Network for Transport;

5. Human capital development including modernising school infrastructure

At the EU-Republic of Moldova Association Council on 7 February 2023 the parties expressed readiness to work on preparing a Priority Action Plan to use the full potential of the AA/DCFTA and to focus efforts on the implementation of its key areas.

EU support measures to Moldova

  • Humanitarian aid, civil protection and stability related assistance

As a response to the inflow of refugees from the war-torn Ukraine to Moldova, the European Commission has allocated €38 million for humanitarian operations, including €25 million announced in October 2022, implemented by humanitarian partners in Moldova (UN agencies, INGOs), to help the country cope with the flow of refugees into and through its territory.

On 25 February, Moldova activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism requesting assistance for management of migration flows. So far, 19 EU countries and Norway have provided emergency assistance to Moldova via the Mechanism. This includes deliveries of shelter equipment, medical supplies, power generators, and other essential items. A team of EU civil protection experts is in Moldova advising the authorities and coordinating incoming assistance.

The Commission also mobilised its rescEU medical stockpiles hosted by the Netherlands and Hungary to provide much-needed medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators, ventilators, and patient monitors.

A rapid response measure with a budget of €8 million was announced under NDICI-GE to strengthen Moldova’s resilience to the crisis situation, which will support national efforts to increase the country’s cyber-security and resilience of its information space while also providing inclusive assistance to the government and population in managing the refugee influx resulting from the war in Ukraine.

Factsheet: EU crisis response to the war in Ukraine

  • Support for effective border and migration management

Moldovan border guards are facing challenges, both because of the high number of refugee arrivals on the territory and the fact that the border is shared with an active war zone.

The EU has therefore stepped up its support to Moldova for border management. The EU Border Assistance Mission to Moldova (EUBAM) has been reinforced with €15 million. On 17 March, the European Union signed a legally binding agreement with the Republic of Moldova on border management cooperation between Moldovan border guards and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). This agreement allowed for an additional deployment of Frontex teams to Moldova at the border, to provide increased technical and operational assistance.

Another €15 million under the EU funding instrument NDICI-Global Europe has been mobilised to support dignified and efficient treatment of refugees, secure transit and repatriation of third-country nationals, working with the International Organization for Migration.

Furthermore, following the activation of the Temporary Protection Directive on 4 March 2022 to grant temporary protection to those fleeing the war in Ukraine, the European Commission has set up a Solidarity Platform to coordinate cooperation and the exchange of information among EU Member States, in particular in relation to facilitate transfers of refugees from Moldova to Member States and to monitoring the reception capacities in each Member State.

Cooperation with Europol is also ongoing under the cooperation agreement. Following a fact-finding mission organized in March, Europol has deployed two European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC) Specialists and Firearms analysts and two Guest Officers.

  • Energy

To help Moldova face the acute energy crisis caused by Gazprom’s sharp reduction of deliveries and Russia’s increased attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, the EU supports Moldova in improving its energy resilience and in ensuring stable electricity and gas supplies. With EU assistance, Moldova has made its first purchases of gas and electricity from the EU. Reduction in energy demand is also prioritised to ensure Moldova’s energy security.

On 16 March 2022, the electricity grid of Moldova was successfully synchronised with the Continental European Network. This will help Moldova to keep its electricity system stable under the current circumstances and is also a historic milestone for the EU-Moldova relationship.

In November 2022, the EU pledged an additional energy support package for the country of €200 million, to be disbursed from January 2023 and of which €100 million will be grants, in order to help the country meet its gas supply needs. The EU will also provide a further €50 million in grants to help Moldova address the negative spillover of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, bringing the EU’s total budget support to the country to €185 million since December 2021. In November 2021, a €15 million rapid response measure was also mobilised to support Moldova’s most vulnerable groups and its energy transition.

In August 2022, the EU disbursed a €75 million budget support grant for the energy sector. This assistance package supports the country to cope with the multiple repercussions in the energy sector of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine. In particular, it helps mitigate the socio-economic consequences of the high energy prices on the most vulnerable citizens and alleviate the economic strain resulted from hosting and supporting refugees. It also helps building the long-term socio-economic recovery, energy security and energy transition of the Republic of Moldova.

The EU is working with the Energy Community Secretariat to put in place an Energy Rescue Scheme for Moldova which will allow donors to support the energy purchase by Moldova. Ongoing advisory support is being provided by experts to Moldovan government and key institutions. The Energy Community Secretariat opened a new office in Chisinau to better assist Moldova in modernizing its energy sector and making it more secure and resilient to current and future challenges.

  • Financial assistance

The EU is the largest provider of financial assistance to Moldova. Over the years 2014-2020, Moldova has benefited from more than half a billion euros in grants and had access to an additional €200 million in loans and grants under two previous Macro-Financial Assistance programmes. The disbursement of the first tranche of a new Micro-Financial Assistance (MFA) package, worth €150 million and proposed by the Commission in January 2022. The MFA entered into force on 18 July 2022 and is available for two and a half years. On 1 August, the EU disbursed a first tranche of €50 million, of which €35 million in long-term loans on concessional terms and €15 million in grants.

EU assistance to Moldova supports the renewed agenda for the Eastern Partnership focusing on recovery, resilience and reform agreed at the 2021 Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels, and is linked to the country's reform commitments under the Association Agreement.

In the medium to long term, the EU continues to work together with Moldovan authorities to implement the Economic and Investment Plan (EIP). The EU supports Moldova with concrete investments to help post-pandemic recovery and improve the lives of Moldovan citizens. Under the EIP, the EU will mobilise around €3.4 billion in public and private investments for five flagships that have been identified together with the Moldovan authorities.

  1. Direct support for 50,000 Moldovan SMEs;
  2. Construction of an Inland Freight Terminal in Chisinau;
  3. Refurbishment of district heating systems in residential buildings in Chisinau and Balti;
  4. Anchoring Moldova in the Trans-European Network for Transport;
  5. Modernising school infrastructure
  • Support to trade and infrastructure

Since June 2022, the EU is granting additional duty-free access for one year for several agricultural products, which are not yet fully liberalised under the EU-Moldova DCFTA. This is a demonstration of the EU’s solidarity designed to help Moldova deal with the loss of its main markets and transit hubs for these key agricultural products resulting from Russia’s unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine.

Road transport agreements signed between the EU, Ukraine and Moldova will help ensure secure supply chains and food security. A €20 million grant for the modernisation of the railways will embed Moldova in the TEN-T network and will support the Solidarity Lanes initiative.

  • Support to security and defence

In July 2022, the EU launched the Support Hub for Internal Security and Border Management in Moldova. As an operational platform, the EU Support Hub will support cooperation on internal security and border management between the EU, its Agencies, the Member States and the Moldovan authorities. The hub will enhance the EU’s joint operational action with Moldova to address the challenges posed by organised crime, including the trafficking of firearms or trafficking in human beings. It will also help Moldova to participate in EU tools and instruments on internal security.

In order to enhance Moldova’s strategic communication capacities and fight against disinformation, support to independent media is ongoing, focusing on strategic communication, investigative journalism and tackling disinformation. Additionally, support is provided to local media and start-ups.

In the field of defence, €7 million from the European Peace Facility adopted in December 2021, will support the Republic of Moldova’s Armed Forces. It will help finance its field hospitals, ambulances, medical imaging and surgery equipment, as well as Explosive Ordnance Disposal kits, including essential equipment and vehicles. This will improve their ability to provide services to civilians in crises or emergency situations over the next 36 months. An additional €40 million adopted in June 2022 will strengthen the capacities of the Moldovan Armed Forces’ logistics, mobility, command and control, cyber-defence, unmanned aerial reconnaissance and tactical communications units by providing relevant non-lethal equipment, supplies and services, including equipment-related training.

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Further information

Factsheets available to download

Key documents

  • General publications
  • Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

For specific information (programme level), see below