EU pledges Moldova € 600m ahead of decisive elections
Republic of Moldova set to receive ‘unprecedented’ 600 million euros ($ 733 million) economic stimulus package from EU over three years, EU executive body said on Wednesday .
The European Commission has said that Moldova, which is not a member of the EU, will receive the funds between 2021 and 2024 to help the former Soviet republic sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine to recover economically from the coronavirus pandemic and promote investment. Plan is conditional on judicial and anti-corruption reforms, commission said
“The Republic of Moldova is at a crossroads,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. “The EU’s economic stimulus package is an unprecedented effort to help the country in its efforts to restore and boost the ambitious reform agenda for the benefit of the people.”
Moldova ranked 115th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index, with first place being the least corrupt.
EU money, which would come in the form of loans, grants and investments, is intended to promote economic growth and focus on areas such as digital technology, infrastructure and education. The EU provides financial assistance known as macro-financial assistance to partner countries under certain conditions.
Moldovan voters are expected to vote next month in early parliamentary elections which were called in April after parliament was dissolved by the country’s pro-Western president Maia Sandu. This decision follows months of political stalemate.
Sandu defeated the outgoing president, friend of Moscow, Igor Dodon in a presidential election in November. She campaigned on a pro-democracy and anti-corruption ticket and expressed support for Moldova to have closer ties with the EU, its biggest trading partner.
A survey last month by Moldovan polling company Date Inteligente found that more than two-thirds of those polled were in favor of the country’s EU membership.
In 2020, the EU supported Moldova, with more than â¬ 127 million ($ 155 million) in grants to help the 3.5 million country cope with the impact of the pandemic.