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Moldovan youth is more than ready to join the EU

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Brussels opened accession negotiations with Moldova in December 2023 – at the same time as Ukraine. Moldova’s youth is ready to break from its Soviet past and step into a European future.

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The poorest country in Europe – that’s how most people know Moldova across the continent.  

But Adrian, 33, a winemaker who was born and raised there, wants to prove there’s much more to his country.

“It’s not the richest one. However, we have big possibilities. We are on the way. We are growing each year,” he said.

Adrian is the general manager of Castel Mimi, one of the biggest wineries in Moldova, exporting to countries throughout Europe and globally. He says he is ready to join the EU.

“We, as a company, are trying to adapt and implement faster all the certificates that will be needed in the European Union. We try to become European before getting into Europe.”

The wine industry is the pride of Moldova’s economy. In 2023, it represented 3% of its GDP, twice as much as France.

In 2021, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine slowed its rise, Moldova had one of the fastest GDP growth rates in Europe. In 2023, the country managed to raise the minimum wage by 25%.

Despite the fact that Moldovans’ quality of life is steadily improving, the country’s economic situation is far from ideal. Many people still leave in search of a better future. Moldova has lost 40% of its population over the last 30 years, according to the National Statistical Office of Moldova.

“For seven years I grew up without my dad. He was working in Russia,” says Codrina, 20, who like many Moldovans grew up without at least one of her parents. “They are doing this sacrifice for you. My dad was working for us to have money and better living conditions.”

Codrina followed in her dad’s footsteps. She’s now living abroad and studying in Bucharest, Romania. She doesn’t just feel European – she is European, thanks to her Romanian passport. According to the Romanian government, one in four Moldovans are also Romanian nationals, making for around 700,000 Moldovan European citizens. 

Read moreMoldova’s EU membership hinges on resisting influence of pro-Russian oligarchs

Moldova’s government has continuously expressed its commitment to join the EU. 

“Our commitment is to make Moldova ready for EU accession by the end of this decade,” declared Maia Sandu, President of the Republic of Moldova, at Castel Mimi during the EPC summit on June 1, 2023.

Codrina and Adrian hope their country will become the 28th Member State of the EU within the next few years.

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