The Republic of Moldova was once considered the Soviet Union’s orchard and vegetable garden. It was the most densely populated region of the former world power. Today the country is facing an identity crisis, caught between Russia and the EU.
The Republic of Moldova holds two negative records: Firstly, it is the poorest country in Europe – and probably also the least known. Secondly, emigration rates are higher than in any other European country. Some 40 per cent of its working-age population already lives abroad. Over the past 27 years, the number of residents has decreased by 3.9 per cent. The UN estimates that by 2070, the Moldovan population will shrink by one third. Along with the high emigration rate, this is due to Europe’s lowest life expectancy (70.7 years) and falling birth rates. With 1.2 children per woman, the fertility rate is below the EU average of 1.6.