France announces new international aid package for crisis-hit Moldova

AFP - VADIM DENISOV

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday announced an international aid pakage of more than €100 million for Moldova during a summit in Paris. The small EU-friendly democracy is facing an economic and humanitarian crisis with the onset of winter and risks being further destabilised by the Ukraine conflict.

A nation of 2.6 million people that lies between Ukraine and Romania, Moldova has felt the effects of rising food and energy prices and has taken in more refugees per head than any other nation.

The country has seen its energy deliveries from Russia slashed in half – hindering its ability to supply enough electricity to its people.

Moldova's President Maia Sandu, who held talks with Macron, warned the country risks running out of gas and electricity this winter, with gas prices rising 600 percent in the last year.

"We need to help its population to hold out," French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told journalists in Paris before the meeting of 35 mostly Western countries, including the United States and 15 international institutions.

EU pivot

Moldova is a former part of the Soviet Union, some of whose territory is occupied by Moscow-backed separatists.

EU member Romania has stepped in to sell gas and electricity to Moldova at reduced prices, while the government has implemented energy-saving measures.

Even after two previous donor conferences in March and July, Moldova needs an additional €1.1 billion to get through this winter, Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said earlier this month.

(with wires)


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