Friday

17th Sep 2021

Opinion

Moldova should initial EU pact

  • World Bank headquarters in Washington (Photo: World Bank Photo Collection)

Moldova has made important progress in its development in the past 10 years.

The economy grew on average by 4.7 percent, while the poverty rate was reduced from 29 percent in 2003 to 16.6 percent in 2012. The country has weathered the global economic crisis well, and with continued prudent macroeconomic management it is expected to post a 5.5 percent GDP growth in 2013.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Moldova can also boast near-universal access to education and significant progress in combating infectious diseases.

In recent years, it has laid the foundation for a more sustainable social assistance system that better targets benefits to the poor. As a result, from 2009-2012 the share of targeted cash transfers in overall social assistance spending increased from 9 to 31 percent.

Notwithstanding these achievements, Moldova remains one of the poorest countries in Europe.

Its Gross National Income of US $2,250 in 2012, despite increasing fourfold since 2002, is only a quarter of that of its western EU neighbor Romania.

GDP growth has been volatile and vulnerable to economic shocks and it has been jobless.

The country ranks 89th out of 148 economies in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2013-14.

The quality of education and health services remains low, and this most affects the poorest.

According to the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment, Moldova remains at the bottom of European rankings in terms of quality of education, with around 60 percent of students lacking basic levels of proficiency in reading and math, and students in rural areas in particular doing much worse.

Adult mortality rates for people aged 15-60 are on average 50 percent higher than in the EU, while the incidence of mortality from chronic diseases is high.

In addition, agricultural productivity remains relatively low and growth has been constrained by frequent extreme weather events.

Historical opportunity

To sustain recent progress and overcome the remaining challenges, Moldova must accelerate reforms in a number of areas.

First, Moldova must increase the competitiveness of its private enterprises by further streamlining the business environment, improving effectiveness of public institutions, and ensuring access to longer-term finance, especially for small- and medium-sized firms.

Of critical priority is the need to strengthen financial sector stability and transparency.

Recent events surrounding Banca de Economii and raider attacks on other commercial banks have highlighted the urgent need to have strong and independent regulators who can ensure adequate supervision and take swift enforcement action, when needed.

Second, it must continue to improve the quality of education and health services, address the demographic challenges and protect the poor and vulnerable.

This will be attained only through resolute and determined efforts to improve education and health institutions; the quality of personnel; and effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of public expenditures.

Third, it must address the debilitating effects of climatic events on agriculture and rural livelihoods, improve natural resource management, and ensure sustainable development through enhanced energy efficiency and security.

These actions will protect the most vulnerable and boost the country’s resilience in the face of external shocks.

Most important, Moldova must redouble its efforts to improve governance, transparency, and accountability of all public institutions, and to combat corruption.

This is essential for reducing poverty further and boosting shared prosperity in the country.

Initialing of the association agreement and the deep and comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU at this month’s Vilnius Eastern Partnership Summit provides an historical opportunity for Moldova to accelerate reforms.

We at the World Bank Group stand ready to support Moldova in making the country a truly better place for all of its citizens.

The writer is the World Bank country director for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

Moldova pins hopes on EU visa pact

A visa liberalisation decision by the EU commission on Friday is being viewed in Moldova as make-or-break for the country's EU path.

Russia's biggest enemy? Its own economy

Russia's leaders have been fully aware of the reasons for its underlying economic weakness for more than two decades. Dependency on energy exports and the lack of technological innovation were themes of Vladimir Putin's first state-of-the-nation address back in 2000.

Textbook hypocrisy: EU's new low point on Palestine

Brussels institutions are devoting time not to Israel's illegal settlements and the two-state solution, but to an entirely different, peripheral issue: an EU-funded study of Palestinian Authority schoolbooks, published in June by the Georg-Eckert Institute in Germany.

News in Brief

  1. Bulgaria's president appoints interim government
  2. Navalny poised to win EU human rights prize
  3. Poland will not leave EU, says Kaczyński
  4. Eurozone wages fall for first time in a decade
  5. Israel joins EU digital Covid-certificate programme
  6. Johnson reshuffles UK cabinet: new foreign minister
  7. Macron says French forces killed Islamic State leader in Sahara
  8. Finance minister tipped to become Sweden's first female PM

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. Von der Leyen issues rallying cry for more EU sovereignty
  2. Von der Leyen doubles up on vaccine-donation pledge
  3. Why won't EU forces fight together, von der Leyen asks?
  4. EU pitches infrastructure investment plan to rival China
  5. EU diplomats oppose common forest-monitoring rules
  6. EU 'stands by Afghans' but wants most kept away
  7. Russia's biggest enemy? Its own economy
  8. Textbook hypocrisy: EU's new low point on Palestine

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us