The president of the European Union Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, paid an official visit to Moldova Thursday, where she announced a 250 million euro (dollar) support package to help the small nation overcome an acute winter energy crisis.
The EU chief said that Moldova would get 100 million dollars in grants and loans from the bloc. The country’s most vulnerable citizens will be helped with 50 million euros.
After meeting with pro-Western President Maia Sandu in Chisinau, von der Leyen said that European solidarity with the Republic of Moldova is still strong.
Russia is the sole supplier of natural gas for Moldova, a population of 2.6 million. Russia has used its dependence to pressure the country over its alignment with the West and in recent weeks halved its gas supplies, causing an energy crisis as winter begins.
Sandu said that the decision by Moscow to reduce supplies amounted to political blackmail in the country where household energy tariffs have increased six-fold in the past year.
Sandu said there was a crisis in which energy resources were being used as weapons against democracy.
Sandu said, “Only together, will we be able to survive the coming winter and preserve our freedom and democratic future.
In June of this year, Moldova was granted EU candidate status, but it won’t get a full membership for years due to reforms in areas such as tackling corruption, organized crime, and strengthening human rights.
Sandu said that they want to bring Moldova into the European Union, where human life and freedom are respected.
Von der Leyen said that a donors’ meeting will be held in Paris later this month to help purchase energy resources. When times are difficult, a family must stick together.
Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament, will be in Moldova on Friday.