European and international donors agreed on Tuesday to extend 659.5 mln euros in aid to Republic of Moldova, Europe’s poorest country, which is hosting more than 100,000 refugees from Ukraine at a time of soaring energy prices, according to Reuters.
Speaking after a donor conference she hosted in Berlin, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Germany would work to help Republic of Moldova free itself from its dependency on Russia for energy supplies.
With fewer than 3 million people, Republic of Moldova has taken in more refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine per head than any other country.
“We agreed today to support Republic of Moldova with loans, budget support and other financial assistance worth 659.5 million euros,” Baerbock said at the end of the conference she hosted jointly with her French and Romanian counterparts.
Although it has strong historical and linguistic ties to neighbouring European Union member Romania, it relies exclusively on Russia’s Gazprom for gas imports.
Republic of Moldova’s Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita asked donors at the conference, who included the EU and the French and Romanian foreign ministers, for support in diversifying her country’s energy supplies even as it deals with refugees in need.
“Since the beginning of the war, 400,000 refugees have crossed Moldova’s borders and 100,000 have decided to stay,” she said. “Almost half of them are children, these are vulnerable populations.”
“Republic of Moldova’s electricity network needed to be interconnected with the European Union’s over the Romanian border in order to boost its energy independence,” she added.
She also asked the EU to lift barriers to selling its agricultural produce westwards, noting that Russia, Belarus and Ukraine had accounted for 15% of Republic of Moldova’s foreign trade before the war.
“Republic of Moldova is the most vulnerable among Ukraine’s neighbours,” she said. “Today Republic of Moldova needs good friends and reliable partners.”