Increased Norwegian support for Ukrainian refugees in Moldova

Norway is providing an additional NOK 70 million for humanitarian aid in Moldova. Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide visited Ukraine's neighbour on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Moldova is the neighbouring country that has received the largest number of refugees per capita from Ukraine since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion. There is great need to provide support for the approximately 100 000 Ukrainian refugees in the country, the families hosting them and other vulnerable Moldovans.  

Moldovas Prime Minister Dorin Recean and Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.
Moldovas Prime Minister Dorin Recean and Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide. Credit: Norway MFA

‘The Moldovan capital Chişinău is a mere three-hour drive from the Ukrainian port city of Odesa, which is now subject to an increasing number of attacks. No other neighbouring country has taken in more of those fleeing from Russia’s attacks,’ said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide during his first visit to the city.  

Norway’s humanitarian aid is designed both to provide relief in the acute phase and to help Ukrainian refugees and Moldovans facing economic hardship to thrive in the future. Norwegian civilian support will also be used to help to build up the Moldovan state and develop effective, robust social institutions in the long term.  

The Foreign Minister met with Moldovan President Maia Sandu, Prime Minister Dorin Recean, Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration Oleg Serebrian, Norwegian diplomats posted in Chişinău and the director of the Centre for Strategic Communication and Combating Disinformation Ana Revenco, among others.   

Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine is having a severe impact on Moldova. The authorities are dealing with a serious crisis that is affecting the economy, energy supply and national security. Few countries have been more exposed to Russian disinformation campaigns.    

‘Under President Sandu’s leadership, Moldova has made significant progress in a very difficult situation. The country has embarked on a comprehensive reform process and has welcomed a large number of refugees from Ukraine,’ said Mr Eide.  

Under the Nansen Support Programme for Ukraine, Norway is also providing funding to help the Moldovan authorities to deal with the crisis and promote the rule of law, justice reforms and closer cooperation with the rest of Europe.     

In 2023, Norway provided NOK 400 million to Moldova to purchase gas. The funds were provided through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Norway has also allocated NOK 100 million to the Moldova Growth, Resilience and Opportunities for Well-being (M-GROW) Program recently established by the World Bank. This multi-donor trust fund will help Moldova to improve its competitiveness and energy efficiency, and to strengthen institutions and promote good governance.     

Norway is one of the largest donors of humanitarian assistance to Moldova. With this new allocation of NOK 70 million, Norway will have provided approximately NOK 490 million in humanitarian aid since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. According to the UN, approximately 160 000 people received humanitarian aid in 2023. This includes cash transfers to some 86 000 Ukrainian refugees and Moldovan host families.    

The EFTA countries and Moldova negotiated a free trade agreement in 2023, paving the way for strengthened economic ties.  

Moldovan President Maia Sandu will pay a state visit to Norway on 6–7 May, hosted by Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja. This will be the first time a Moldovan president has visited Norway, a clear sign of the increasingly strong ties between the two countries in recent years.  

Norway has also decided to open an embassy office in Chişinău to follow up Norway’s support efforts and further enhance bilateral relations.