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News 08 Jul 15

Romania President Pledges Support for Moldova

President Klaus Iohannis told his visiting Moldovan counterpart that Romania will continue to help Moldova on its path to Europe.

Marian Chiriac

“Fighting corruption, strengthening institutions and economic stability are the only way to success," Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said on Tuesday following talks with Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti in the Romanian city of Suceava.

"Moldova has a great chance that we never had at the time of [EU] accession. This chance is called Romania,” he added.

Timofti, a former judge, received an honorary degree from the university in the northeastern Romanian city of Suceava in recognition of his pro-European and pro-Romanian stance, including supporting a law that has allowed tens of thousands of Moldovans to obtain Romanian citizenship as well.

Iohannis also expressed hope that the recent victory of pro-European parties in local elections in Moldova would lead to the formation of a strong and stable pro-European government.

Pro-European parties came out decisively ahead of those favouring closer ties with Russia in Moldova's local elections held last month.

In the votes for town and village councils, the pro-European parties won about 56.5 per cent of the votes versus only about 31.5 per cent for the pro-Russian parties.

Moldova's last prime minister resigned in June after a probe into the authenticity of his high school diploma and university degree.

The meeting between the Romanian and Moldovan presidents came two days after around 5,000 people took to the streets of Chisinau, Moldova’s capital, to demand unification with neighbouring Romania - to which the country once belonged.

The rally was organized by several groups headed by the Actiunea 2012 (Action 2012). On July 11, activists plan to hold a unity march in the Romanian city of Iasi and then move to Bucharest.

Romania is a strong supporter of Moldova with which it shares many ties. Among others, it hands out 5,000 grants every year to Moldovan students to study at Romanian schools and universities. Trade between the two countries was worst 1 billion euros last year.

Moldova has long been a contested region. Part of Tsarist Russia in the 19th century, it became part of Romania from 1918 to 1940, when it was then annexed by the Soviet Union. It became independent in 1991. About 80 per cent of the population of 4.1 million are of Romanian ethnic origin and speak Romanian as well as Russian.

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