The European Union has assembled a new support package meant to mitigate the impact of Russia's war in Ukraine on Moldova and "bring the country closer" to the 27-member bloc, the European Commission has announced.
The package has five priority areas, commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement on June 28.
The five areas are focused on facilitating economic development and connectivity, reforms, energy, security, and strategic communication, the statement said.
“Moldova has stood firmly in solidarity and in defense of European values," the statement quoted von der Leyen as saying.
The EU has already earmarked 1.2 billion euros ($1.31 billion) "to help Moldova in facing multiple crises since the autumn of 2021," it said.
One of Europe's poorest countries, Moldova, a country of 2.7 million wedged between EU and NATO member Romania and Ukraine, has been confronted with further instability by Russia's war in Ukraine. Moldova's history is deeply intertwined with Romania, the two neighbors sharing a common history, culture, and language.
Moldova has received thousands of Ukrainian refugees and has voiced fears of a potential Russian invasion aided by Russian troops stationed in its breakaway Transdniester region.
Last year in June, Moldova became a candidate for EU membership along with Ukraine in a huge boost to the pro-Western aspirations of President Maia Sandu's government, which has repeatedly accused Russia of trying to destabilize the country.
"Despite the enormous consequences Russia's war of aggression is having on the country, Moldova is taking great strides to advance on its European future. With today's package, the EU shows we stand by Moldova and we will work to accelerate your European integration and reforms. Moldova's future lies in the EU," von de Leyen said.
The European Commission statement said that following its proposal earlier this month, up to 600 million euros ($656 million) from the bloc's Neighborhood, Development, and International Cooperation Instrument could be reallocated to "programs to increase support for other neighborhood countries, including Moldova" between 2024-2027.
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