Moldovan premier invites Romanian counterpart to pipeline start

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Moldovan premier Iurie Leancă
Image: Estonian Foeign Ministry.

During an official visit to Romania on Tuesday, Moldovan premier Iurie Leancă invited his Romanian counterpart, Victor Ponta, to attend Moldovan Independence Day on August 27. On that occasion, the two neighbouring countries are to start building a cross-border gas pipeline between cities Iași, Romania, and Ungheni, Moldova.

European Union (EU) commissioner for energy Günther Oettinger is also expected to attend the meeting. The Moldovan premier seeks support for EU visa facilitation for Moldovan citizens as well as economic and energy ties with the EU. Russian energy minister Aleksandr Novak declared in September 2012 that the Russian Federation agrees to lower gas prices for Moldova only if the ex-soviet republic denounces the Energy Community of South East Europe between the EU and eight non-EU countries including Moldova.

Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe. The latest Transparency International report on global corruption says Moldovan citizens report the second most widespread bribery of a European country. Moldovan politicians often accuse each other of being either under the influence of Russia — the Party of Communists of the Republic of Moldova; or under the influence of Romania and the EU — the Alliance for European Integration, the current government coalition. Russia maintains a motorized infantry battalion and some ammunition depots from the soviet era in Moldova's breakaway Transdnestr region; Russian vice-premier Dmitry Rogozin said earlier this year Russia would continue these until the status of the region is settled. This situation has persisted for some time; in the OSCE Summit Declaration of Istanbul of 1999, Russia was to pull its troops out of Transnistria by the end of 2002.

Moldova also hopes to sign the European Union Association Agreement by the end of 2013.


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