Romania presses EU on Moldova membership hopes

Romanian President Traian Basescu received new European Union President Herman van Rompuy for talks Monday evening, with the Bucharest leader putting in a good word for neighbouring country Moldova’s EU membership aspirations.

Basescu urged the EU to provide clear prospects to Moldova on future membership.

It was an important political signal for Romania itself for Moldova to be taken on in the EU’s expansion plans for the western Balkans region, the Romanian leader said.

‘Moldova needs positive signals as well as financial and political support,’ he told van Rompuy, who was in Bucharest for a brief visit.

Historically, Romania has close ties with its neighbour, where 60 per cent of the population consist of ethnic Romanians. Up till 1940 almost the entire area of modern-day Moldova had belonged to Romania.

Bucharest’s ties with the recently-defeated communist leadership in Moldova had been tense, but Romania is now hoping for better relations with the new centrist government in Chisinau.

Other issues in Basescu’s talks with van Rompuy included a review of the global economic crisi, EU policy towards the Danube River and Black Sea region states, and the planned Nabucco gas pipeline.

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