As a small landlocked country, with no energy resources of its own, Moldova projects vulnerability in a wider regional context. Increased efforts towards European integration have triggered Russia’s swift retaliation on economic grounds, banning Moldovan imports and installing a climate of economic uncertainty. Only in 2013 and 2014, Moldovan exporters could redirect their goods to Western markets, driving economic recovery.
Moldova’s path towards development is shaped by the country’s geography: sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, the Eastern European country has been able to consolidate access by signing multiple economic agreements with EU Member States and with former soviet republics. Currently, local companies can access both European and Asian markets, with an undeniable preference for a the former, where almost 70% of Moldovan exports are now directed.
A further, rather challenging step is securing competitiveness; how to make Moldova more competitive on the global market, without relying on natural resources. As experienced by local stakeholders, solutions call for an innovative approach, as long as consolidated export capacities and foreign investments are Moldova’s main drivers for economic growth. It is a moment of opportunity for Moldovan authorities to adopt measures with proven efficiency and secure the country’s remarkable economic growth of the past 2 years.
A measure to look into: granting Moldovan citizenship to major investors.
This mechanism is nothing new; more developed countries already have it. In Moldova’s case, it involves a non-refundable contribution of 100 thousands euro from foreign citizens, to be transferred in a state fund for structural investment in infrastructure - such as roads, water collection systems, aqueducts. The other option is to invest 250 thousands euro in real estate or state bonds for a period of 60 months.
A projection put together by specialists from the Moldovan Ministry of Economy shows that, at a first stage, 1.3 billion dollars would enter the country. 17% of the Moldovan current GDP. This program would drive a 2.5% annual economic growth, with 8-9% more money to the state budget, in the period of implementation. Foreign direct investment would triple. Investment in private constructions would register a 25% growth.
The legislative framework for the “investment” citizenship has been in place since last year, yet criticism is now gaining ground. Some voices have attempted to start a conversation about risks to the national security - while we welcome further interest in this topic, one should be aware that such a program implies due diligence assessments and detailed investigations operated by intelligence services and law enforcement authorities.
We are not in the business of reinventing the wheel. We dream bigger - Moldova needs a braver development model and we are lucky enough to be able to apply measures with proven efficiency in leading markets.
This program is available in the United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Singapore, Hong Kong. An elite club of states have come to the conclusion that their openness is even more valuable when foreign citizens are able to invest and prosper. Usually, conditions in the above-mentioned countries include: investment in the banking sector (deposits), real estate or companies; job creation, investment in state bonds or even donations to the state.
Scepticism is natural, but can prove counter-productive without the necessary information. This is why, in the end, I would like to highlight a study done by IMF experts on “citizenship in return for investment.” IMF experts debunk the myths around this type of programs and focus on benefits - which, in Moldova’s case, can make up for a real success story.
About 70% of Ukrainian citizens are ready to vote at a referendum for Ukraine's accession to the European Union and a little more than half would support their country's joining NATO, according to a poll conducted by the SOCIS Social and Marketing Research Center.( ) Read all
The armed formations of the Russian Federation violated ceasefire 29 times, using weapons banned under the Minsk agreements three times, in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area in Donbas over the past day.( ) Read all
Two months after parliamentary elections in Moldova, the country is no closer to swearing in a new government. As negotiations between the leading parties have floundered, it has left the country without a direction and increasingly vulnerable to Russian influence. A coalition agreement is...( ) Read all
Mainstream European Union parties held their ground against the assault from populists in elections for the bloc’s Parliament as the highest turnout in two decades looked set to reward pro-EU Liberals and Greens.( ) Read all
After Moldova’s elections in February, the country’s leading oligarch, Vladimir Plahotniuc, thought he had things sewn up. While the Russian-leaning Socialists won the most seats, 35, in the 101-seat Parliament, Plahotniuc’s Democrats had won 30 seats and the pro-E.U. ACUM...( ) Read all
Russia is to keep its membership in Europe’s top human rights body after Germany and France engineered a last-minute deal to avoid a Russian expulsion, a step that threatened to further incite tensions between the Kremlin and the West.( ) Read all
Today we commemorate the genocide of the Crimean Tatar people. 75 years ago, as being allegiadly ‘unreliable’, all of the Crimean Tatar population was deported from its Homeland. The Lithuanian Constitutional Court has referred to the acts against the Crimean Tatar people as a...( ) Read all
March 18 marked a year since Russia’s last presidential election. Vladimir Putin allegedly won 76.69% of the vote, on a turnout of 67.54% (or 51.7% of all Russia’s eligible voters.) But a recent study of video recordings from polling stations paints quite a different picture of...( ) Read all
The campaign of Volodymyr Zelensky, a forty-one-year-old actor who, on Sunday, was elected Ukraine’s next President, in a landslide, was light on specifics. He vowed to put an end to corruption and the trade of political favors for illicit wealth, and also to bring peace to the...( ) Read all
The radio station brought to light Victor Josu, a pro-Russian who is helped by Valeriu Pasat, the ex director of the Service of Information and Security to promote Russia's politics in Moldova. In 2010, Victor Josu was intensively supporting a further organization of a referendum to support the...( ) Read all
Katie Bowman, a PhD in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, specialized in a very fine part of building complex and precise algorithms that could create images through a huge data stream of up to 5 million gigabytes, and then completed her specialization at...( ) Read all
Today's press conference of the Socialist Party of the Republic of Moldova, informally led by the Moldovan President, Igor Dodon, supports the suspicion that his undeclared and denied plan to place the country under Russian control exists and is still in motion.( ) Read all
Time flies. 15 years have passed since Lithuania‘s accession to NATO. Once, NATO membership seemed completely out of Lithuania‘s reach. Today, we proudly consider ourselves to be experienced and reliable members of the Alliance.( ) Read all
When Benito Mussolini debuted the Fasci Italiani di Combattimento, the precursor to his fascist party, on Mar. 23, 1919, in Milan, he wasn’t inventing the idea of violent authoritarianism. But he put a name on a new and terrible breed of it. Under his leadership, squads of militants...( ) Read all
On this day five years ago the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation adopted - over one night - the decision (opinion) that allowed for the annexation of a part of Ukrainian territory - the Crimean penninsula. Thus, the decision of 19 March 2014 contributed to the commission of an act of...( ) Read all