The country of
3.6 million people is one of the poorest in Europe, with average monthly
salaries of $300. Its breakaway region Transnistria, which borders Ukraine,
remains unrecognized by any country. Corruption and a politically manipulated
judiciary remain problems.
But, in many
ways, Moldova is a leader in democratic progress among post-Soviet countries outside
of the EU. The advancement seems to have accelerated since 2009,
when pro-European Prime Minister Vlad Filat took power from Communists and
declared the “European option is irreversible.”
the path toward a visa-free regime with the EU than Ukraine, Moldova is also
closer to finalizing its association agreement, which is expected to be signed in
late 2013 and ratified soon thereafter.