Serghii Pyrozhkov, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Moldova, discusses the long-term ties between the two countries and new types of bilateral partnerships currently being created. He also highlights Moldova’s attractions for Ukrainian investors as well as both countries’ commitment to integrating into the EU.
European Times: Can you describe the relationship between Ukraine and Moldova?
Serghii Pyrozhkov: Ukraine and Moldova are not just neighbours; Ukrainians have been living in Moldova since 1359 and, according to a study in 2004, Ukrainians now make up the country’s second-largest ethnic group. The two countries also share a border in the Transnistra territory. Ukraine is Moldova’s third-most-important trade partner. Moldova mainly imports metals, food, coal and machinery from Ukraine and exports wine and agricultural products to Ukraine. Bilateral trade between Moldova and Ukraine totalled around US$1004,9 million in 2013. Now the two countries are on the verge of signing a free-trade agreement which was signed on June 27, 2014. Ukraine and Moldova have also formed a Euroregion containing six regions from the two countries. These regional partnerships along borders have great potential and can result in new infrastructure connecting the two markets. Moldova’s parliamentary elections on November 30 this year will determine the country’s long-term economic relationships. In spite of the current conflict in Ukraine, Ukraine strongly supports Moldova’s EU integration process and its fight against corruption.
European Times: Are Ukrainian investors targeting Moldova?
Serghii Pyrozhkov: Ukrainian investors have invested around US$12,7 million in Moldova to date. Moldova is a small market for Ukraine, but as new opportunities arise here, more Ukrainian investors will come. One opportunity is in joint-venture partnerships, for example in road construction. One of Moldova’s biggest challenges is modernising its road infrastructure, and a lot of Ukrainian road-construction companies are interested in taking part in this process. Fighting corruption remains a challenge for investors, but both sides are working on this. With the war in Ukraine right now, we cannot count on large investments from Ukraine in Moldova, but when the situation stabilises, Ukraine will have good potential for investments and the economy of the country will be considerably improved.
European Times: What is your personal message about the relationship between Moldova and Ukraine?
Serghii Pyrozhkov: Both countries are actively developing their connections to Europe. It is the concern of the realization of European principles, standards and values. At present, both Ukraine and Moldova have signed an Association Agreement with the EU, including provisions on the establishment of deep and comprehensive free trade area. It is a historic event for each country and it describes their civilized choice. However, the implementation of the Association Agreement is a complex and long process that requires considerable efforts of the government and the society. In addition, the signing and implementation of the provisions of this Agreement raises new challenges for Ukraine and Moldova. In this regard, it is necessary to reform and deepen Ukrainian-Moldovan relations. Moldova and Ukraine have great potential for working together and both countries are preparing themselves to integrate into the economic area of the EU.