Romania foreign minister: Bucharest may withhold aid over democratic backsliding after regime change in Moldova

Inquam Photos/ Octav Ganea

Romania may withhold aid to Moldova after a pro-Russian party took control of the government following the ouster of a pro-Western party from the ruling alliance, Romania’s foreign minister said.

Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said the removal of the pro-Western ACUM group from the former Soviet republic’s government  last month meant foreign support “needed to be re-evaluated” and made dependent on “the real commitment of the new government to reforms in justice and administration as outlined in the association agreement Moldova signed with the European Union,, and an agreement with the International Monetary Fund,” a statement said.

The foreign ministry statement warned that financial and other support would be made available based on “concrete actions” of the government within a Romanian-Moldovan strategic partnership for European integration and based on “continuing reforms for the democratic development of Moldova and advancing on the European path.”

Aurescu delivered the stern message to Moldova’s Foreign Minister Aureliu Ciocoi Thursday on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Bratislava, Slovakia.

He said there were “problems caused by the changes generated by the change of government… at an essential moment for the reform of the justice system in Moldova which were against the medium and long-term interests of Moldovan citizens.”

The statement said Romania would continue to monitor the interests of Moldova’s citizens, and would pursue strategic bilateral interconnectivity projects, referring to electricity and gas pipelines.

He said it was important to resolve the frozen conflict in Trans-Dniester and respect the territorial integrity of the country. The Trans-Dniester conflict is of “direct interest to Romania, a European Union and NATO member.”

He praised “important changes” to promote “democratic values and the rule of law, the fight against corruption and ensuring an independent justice system. carried out by the government of Maia Sandu whose pro-Western Cabinet lost a no-confidence vote in parliament last month.

At the time, EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic voiced concern over Moldova’s continuing to pursue much-needed reforms, and said the change in government „sends worrying signals for the reform process in the country.”


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