Moldova asks EU to stop Romanian “interference”

Moldova asked the European Union on Thursday to take action to stop what it said was Romanian interference in its affairs.Romanian President Traian Basescu has angered Moldova’s leaders by backing the country’s liberal opposition in a parliamentary election set for July 29.

“We cannot ignore the declarations of Romania’s leadership openly supporting political forces in Moldova and Romania’s preference for certain forces to come to power in a neighbouring state,” a Moldovan government statement said.

It asked the EU to assess the actions of Romania, which is an EU member, and encourage respect for Moldova’s sovereignty”.

Most of Moldova, Europe’s poorest country, was once part of Romania. It shares a language and much of its culture with its western neighbour, though it also has longstanding links with Russia.

Moldova’s outgoing Communist president, Vladimir Voronin, moved closer to Romania for a time after accusing Moscow of abetting separatists running Transdniestria region — one of several “frozen conflicts” in the former Soviet Union.

But Voronin now accuses Bucharest of trying to swallow the country of 4.3 million by offering its citizens passports.

The Communists finished first in an April election but their victory prompted violent protests by young demonstrators furious at the prospect of the party remaining in power. Voronin accused Romania of fomenting the unrest.

The president must step down after two terms, but three opposition parties thwarted his plan to keep power by twice blocking the election by parliament of a compliant successor. That triggered a snap election under the constitution.

A poll published this week showed the Communists trailing the combined opposition.

Basescu this month said hoped the opposition would make gains in the election and added that up to 2 million Moldovan citizens would eventually secure Romanian citizenship.

In its statement, the Moldovan government said Romania was forcing Moldovan nationals to apply for citizenship by making it harder for them to secure visas to travel to EU states.

It also renewed calls for signature of a treaty recognising Moldova’s borders. Romania says signing such a pact would be tantamount to recognising borders that were imposed by the Soviet Union.

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