Moldova’s only chance to survive as a democracy is to join the European Union, President Maia Sandu said.
EU candidate status
Moldova along with Ukraine was given EU candidate status this year in record time although it will likely take years to implements reforms needed for membership.
Speaking to the Washington Post in Chisinau, Ms Sandu, 50, said: “I do believe that our chance to survive as a democracy — and democracy is very important to us — is to integrate into the European Union. We want to stay part of the free world.”
She said the war in neighboring Ukraine had affected the poor Soviet republic badly.
“Because of this war, we have high inflation and today Moldovans pay a price for gas seven times higher than last year, “ she said. “We are also paying a higher price for electricity. Moldova is not a rich country, which means that in people’s budgets, the share of spending on energy and on food is very high.”
Russia’s state-owned energy company Gazprom reduced Moldova’s gas supply by 30 percent on Oct. 1, leaving Moldova struggling to afford the prices on the free market.
“Before, we had 100 percent of gas provided by Gazprom. … We will be able to buy gas on the Romanian market, but the question is whether we will be able to afford such prices.”
“The government will try to compensate those with low incomes. The government has some (gas) reserves but not [enough to last] long.
The former World Bank employee also said the war in Ukraine had left Moldova, which has a neutral status, off guard.
“Russian propaganda has been trying to mislead people in Moldova that neutral means you should not have a defense sector or you should not invest in your defense sector, which is not true,” she said.
“ In the constitution it says that we are a neutral country. At the same time, it says that the country should have an army and the army should be able to defend the country. So we are saying that because of the war in Ukraine, we should be more concerned about our security and should invest more than we invested in the past in our defense sector.”