Border: Moldova-Romania

Border: Moldova-Romania

Date(s) of establishment: 1940 (current demarcation in 1991)
Length of border: 681 km
Regions concerned: Romania - Botoșani, Iaşi, Vaslui, Galati; Moldova - Briceni, Edineţ, Rîşcani, Glodeni, Făleşti, Ungheni, Nisporeni, Hîncești, Leova, Cantemir, Cahul

European programme(s):

This border, at a length of 681 km, is a continuous river border that follows the southeasterly course of the river Prut. It begins to the north, with the tripoint formed by the Romanian-Ukrainian and Moldovan-Ukrainian borders, and ends to the south with a tripoint between the same borders. Indeed, the Republic of Moldova is situated entirely between Romania and Ukraine. Along this border there are 9 crossing points – 6 by road and 3 by rail.


Up to 1812, the historic province of Bessarabia, situated entirely between the rivers Prut and Dniester (Nistru in Romanian) and corresponding approximately to the territory of today’s Republic of Moldova, represented the eastern part of the Principality of Moldavia.

Following the Treaty of Bucharest signed between Russia and the Ottoman Empire in 1812, Bessarabia was separated from the Principality of Moldavia and annexed by the Russian Empire. In 1859, three years after the Crimean War, the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia united to form Romania. From this point on, the Romanian-speaking provinces of neighbouring countries demanded to become part of this country, which obtained independence in 1878.

In 1917, Bessarabia first declared its independence in relation to the Russian Empire and in 1918 its outright independence, becoming the Moldavian Democratic Republic. The same year, the legislative assembly of the new country voted for union with Romania, which was confirmed by the Treaty of Paris (1920).

In 1940, within the context of the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact of 1939, Romania was forced to cede Bessarabia to the USSR. That same year, the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic was declared. In June 1940, a Soviet-Romanian commission established the Soviet-Romanian border, which would later become the Romanian-Moldovan border. During the Second World War, in 1940, Romania, allied first with Germany, occupied the territories ceded one year before, with the USSR taking them back in 1944.

In 1991, during the dismantling process of the USSR, the independent Republic of Moldova was proclaimed and it became a member of the United Nations in 1992, this period representing the birth of the border in its current form. Since 1991 and up to the present, several divergent movements coexist, some demanding that the territory be incorporated into Romania, Ukraine or Russia, others demanding the separation of territories such as Transnistria and Gagauzia from Moldova.

Cross-border cooperation

Moldova’s cooperation relations with Romania are rather complex. The two countries nevertheless share a considerable language community, along with a common culture and history (in the 2004 census, 16% of respondents declared their first language to be Romanian, and 60% Moldovan, the official name for the Romanian language in the Republic of Moldova).

Under the terms of the Law on Romanian Citizenship, Romanian citizenship is attributed to persons able to prove that one of their antecedents possessed Romanian citizenship. From 2006, against the backdrop of Romania’s imminent entry into the European Union and the declarations of Romanian president Traian Băsescu, applications for Romanian nationality increased significantly. In 2013, the report by the Soros Foundation, a Romanian NGO, estimated that 400,000 people had obtained Romanian citizenship using this mechanism (notably Romanians and Ukrainians).

Bilateral relations between the two countries are regulated by a large number of sectoral agreements (justice, finance, commerce, the economy, transport, social security, education, agriculture, the environment). In addition, in 2012, a first meeting was held of the Romania–Republic of Moldova Intergovernmental Commission for European integration, which aims to support the Moldovan state in its rapprochement with the European Union through concrete projects.

On the Romanian-Moldovan border there are three Euroregions. To the north, the Upper Prut Euroregion, established in 2000, brings together Romanian, Ukrainian and Moldovan territories. At the centre, the Siret-Prut-Nistru Euroregion (2002, RO/MD) is the most active, having undertaken several projects financed by the cross-border cooperation programmes between Romania and Moldova. To the south, the Lower Danube Euroregion (1998) brings together a number of Romanian, Moldovan and Ukrainian districts.

Romania and Moldova have been participating in EU cross-border cooperation programmes since 2004, first financed by the PHARE CBC funds (between 2004 and 2006) and then from 2007 with ENPI funds. The Romania-Moldova-Ukraine 2007-2013 programme covers the six eastern districts of Romania, the entire territory of the Republic of Moldova and two oblasts in Ukraine. The general objective of this programme, which has a budget of 138 million euros, is to improve the economic, social and environmental situation, within a framework of secure borders, thanks to increased contact between partners on either side of the border. The programme is focused around three thematic priorities:

  • Priority 1: Towards a more competitive border region:
    This priority aims to improve economic performance in the border region, through the diversification and sustainable modernisation of the border economy.

  • Priority 2: Environment and emergency planning:
    This priority aims to develop long-term solutions for environmental problems in the border reigon, in particular problems linked to emergency situations, in which a coordinated approach is essential.

  • Priority 3: Promotion of people-to-people activities:
    This priority aims to promote good interactions between people and between communities in the border region.

Romania and Moldova both participate in the Interreg IV B South-East Europe programme. This programme aims to offer to countries concerned the possibility to turn towards the European Union. In order to do this, the programme aims to encourage the cohesion of the Balkans region, so that a coherent territorial ensemble can develop. Priorities concern innovation, the promotion of entrepreneurship, the improvement of accessibility and the development of transnational synergies.

Lastly, a portion of the Romanian-Moldovan border is covered by the ENPI “Black Sea Basin” programme.

Territory projects and institutional bodies for cooperation

Cross-border cooperation at the regional level

Eurorégion Danube Inférieur