Monday

23rd Apr 2018

Moldova hopes to pull in EU tourists after skies deal

  • Russian leader Vladimir Putin's collection at the Circova winery in Chisinau (Photo: veni markovski)

Moldova is hoping to become the next Czech Republic or Latvia in terms of low-cost tourism after signing an aviation pact with the EU.

Its foreign minister, Iurie Leanca, told EUobserver in Brussels on Wednesday (27 June) that low-cost airlines Wizz Air and Blue Air have already shown interest in starting flights and that it will target Ryanair in the coming months.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He said Chisinau has "quite intense nightlife" and could become a party capital on the model of Prague or Riga.

He also highlighted the country's wine industry and noted that Transniestria - a breakaway territory which has stood still since Soviet times - could be an attraction in itself.

"If somebody from Western Europe comes and travels there they will see some remnants of the former USSR and I am sure they will appreciate it. It's a curiosity," he said.

His remarks come after Moldova on Tuesday signed an open skies deal with the European Commission, opening its air sector to free competition.

Apart from bringing tourist revenue and helping Moldovan expats from Ireland or Italy to see their families, he said increased visits would help to put his country - which aspires to EU membership - on the map.

He noted that in Germany, for instance, where the Czech river Vltava is called the Moldau, "when people [first] hear about Moldova, they sometimes think it's a river in the Czech Republic."

With the boom in Western tourism to places such as Riga associated with rowdy stag parties and the sex industry, Leanca pointed out that Moldova cannot be choosy in terms of who to host.

"We are not spoiled [for choice] yet, so any decent tourists are welcome," he said.

The minister - who chairs the country's commission on human trafficking - added that it has made "improvements" in protecting women.

But he said so long as there is poverty in the countryside: "young people coming to the city will be tempted and sometimes abused ... We have to make sure that our law enforcement agencies work in a more systematic way."

He said the recent thaw in relations with Transniestria is helping to combat organised crime.

The territory late last year saw a young, locally-born politician, Yevgeny Shevchuk, take over from Russian-born Igor Smirnov.

Shevchuk has restarted international talks on Transniestria's status and is cultivating friendly ties with Chisinau - he has attended weddings with Moldova's Prime Minister Vlad Filat and went to a Julio Iglesias concert with Leanca in the Moldovan capital on 8 June.

"We have [also] resumed meetings of working groups on organised crime ... In the past people who committed a crime on the left bank [of the Dniester river] used to cross to the right bank to avoid punishment, or vice versa," the minister said.

EU starting to lose patience with Moldova deadlock

Moldova needs to elect its president as soon as possible and end a two-year long political deadlock, the EU envoy in Chisinau said Wednesday, with the parliamentary procedures for the election of the president delayed by another month.

Russian decision boosts Moldova's EU entry prospects

Russia has said it is ready to dismantle Cold War-era arms dumps in Moldova, raising the prospect of an end to the Transniestria conflict and boosting Moldova's chances of future EU accession.

EU toes the line on Syria air strikes

EU foreign ministers to back Western air strikes on Syria, the same way they backed the UK over Russia's chemical attack on an ex-spy in Britain.

Analysis

Is Germany more hawkish on Russia?

Germany's socialist foreign minister just said the EU should "step up pressure" on Russia. Merkel aired "political" doubts on a Russian pipeline.

Analysis

Is Germany more hawkish on Russia?

Germany's socialist foreign minister just said the EU should "step up pressure" on Russia. Merkel aired "political" doubts on a Russian pipeline.

News in Brief

  1. Commission will 'not shy away' from Malta killing repercussions
  2. EU Commission opens probe on Alitalia state loan
  3. Paris suspect given 20-year sentence for Brussels shoot-out
  4. Merkel and Pena Nieto praise EU-Mexico trade agreement
  5. Nahles elected new leader of Germany's SPD
  6. Report: EU budget to refocus on South
  7. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  8. MEPs urge better protection for journalists

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  2. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  3. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  5. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  6. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  7. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  8. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  9. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  10. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  12. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations

Latest News

  1. Secrecy of VW fraud report 'unacceptable', says MEP
  2. 'Strong suspicion' of corruption in Council of Europe assembly
  3. France tightens immigration law, sparking division
  4. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  5. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  6. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  7. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  8. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups