The European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday announced a 250 million-euro support package to Moldova to help it tackle a looming energy crisis complicated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
During a visit to Chisinau, the EU chief said Moldova will receive 100 million euros in grants and the same amount again in loans from the bloc to pay for gas starting Jan. 1.
An additional 50 million euros will help the country’s most vulnerable citizens, she said.
“European solidarity with the Republic of Moldova is unshakable,” von der Leyen said after meeting Moldovan President Maia Sandu.
The EU chief said Russia continues to wage a „brutal war against Ukraine, targeting essential infrastructure – electricity, heating, water – in despicable acts of cruelty, and creating chaos on global energy markets with its weaponizing of energy,” also affecting Moldova.
Moldova is entirely dependent on Russia for its natural gas and Moscow has put pressure on the pro-Western government, headed by Sandu, and has reduced gas supplies in recent weeks, pointing to unpaid energy debts.
Ms Sandu has called Moscow’s move to cut gas “political blackmail” amid soaring inflation of 35%.
Almost 600,000 Ukrainian refugees have passed through Moldova since the invasion began in February. Some 80,000 remain in the country, von der Leyen noted.
In June, the European Council decided to grant EU candidate status to Moldova and Ukraine. Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia applied for EU membership in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Gazprom warns Moldova it may halt gas supplies unless payment obligations met