France and Moldova
France is one of the Member States with the longest-standing representation in Chisinau. Political contacts have increased in recent years: in 2014 and 2015 - joint visit of French and German Foreign Ministers to Chisinau, on 23 April; visit of Prime Minister Iurie Leanca to Paris in June. The Minister of State for European Affairs held the French co-chairmanship of the European Action Group for Moldova (GAERM) in Chisinau on 1 September 2014 and in Brussels on 16 March 2015. He also met with Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman alongside the OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel on 4 December 2014 and in Belgrade on 3 December 2015. He made a bilateral visit to Chisinau on 26-27 March 2015. The President of the French Republic met his Moldovan counterpart on 22 May last alongside the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga. President Timofti took part in COP21 in Paris on 30 November last. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy Mr Octavian Calmâc travelled to France on 28-31 March.
There is regular parliamentary contact between the countries: a delegation from the French National Assembly friendship group travelled to Moldova in April 2014 and a delegation from the Senate friendship group made the trip in September of the same year.
Although trade relations between France and Moldova remain modest, there is a significant presence of French investors in the country. France is one of the largest foreign investors in Moldova. The main French companies in Moldova are Orange (Orange Moldova, the country’s leading mobile phone provider), Lafarge (60% of the country’s cement needs), Lactalis and Société Générale (majority shareholder in MobiasBanca, Moldova’s fifth largest bank). Bilateral trade remains limited but relatively stable after increases in recent years (€75m EUR in 2012; €101.1m in 2013; €93.7m in 2014; €100m in 2015).
Our cultural and linguistic cooperation is based on the Alliance française in Chisinau, the leading cultural centre in the capital, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2012. Each year, it provides French classes to between 3,000 and 4,000 students, depending on demand. In this French-loving country (this year Moldova celebrates the 20th anniversary of its membership of the International Organisation of La Francophonie), French is still learnt by over half of secondary school students, although in recent years English has replaced it as the number one foreign language taught in schools.
Our cooperation is aimed at increasing Francophonie; training new elites; promoting cultural diversity and supporting government institutions by training officials. Co-financing is organized with donors who are French-speaking (Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, Association of French-speaking members of Parliament) multilateral (UNDP, WHO, UNICEF) and European.
Moreover, cooperation exists in many areas: a cooperation agreement in the area of heritage was signed this year between the Ministries of Culture in our respective countries. A programme to help resettle migrants was run by the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) (€800,000 in 2013). Regional cooperation (Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova) on children’s rights is organized from the French Embassy in Bucharest. In Moldova, cooperation focuses on preventing trafficking in vulnerable minors (40,000 to 100,000 children abandoned by their parents who have gone abroad) and access to education for children with special educational needs.
Updated: 27 May 2016