EU to help Moldova pay bills with EUR 150m aidReading Time: < 1 minutes
Aspirant EU-member Moldova could receive EUR 150 million from the bloc after the European Commission approved funding on Tuesday. The EU will extend EUR 30 million in grants and EUR 120 million in preferential loans over the next two years if the Chisinau government fulfils commitments to improve governance and combat corruption. The EU disburses Micro-Financial Assistance (MFA) to struggling neighbouring partner countries, and since 2017 Moldova has received EUR 170 million from the fund.
Moldova President Maia Sandu last month said her country has every intention of joining the EU, and that “we would like other countries to respect that choice”. Moldova has been subjected to a tug-of-war between Russia and the West since the small Soviet state won independence in 1991. In recent months Moldova, which has always relied on Russia-sourced gas, has been in a dispute with the Kremlin and state energy company Gazprom over gas prices and even allegedly unpaid energy bills from the 1990s.
“The European Commission continues to stand by the people of Moldova in these particularly challenging times,” said Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni regarding Chisinau’s access to the funds. This will supplement a USD 558 million loan pandemic recovery package from the IMF, which was approved on 20 December, he added.
In the next three years Moldova could access up to EUR 600 million via the EU’s Economic Recovery and Resilience Plan. The MFA agreement is part of the Association Agreement signed by Moldova and the EU in 2014.