Moldova appoints new pro-EU prime minister after government collapse

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Moldovan President Maia Sandu. Photo: EPA

Moldova President Maia Sandu on February 10 nominated a new prime minister to keep the country on a pro-EU trajectory even after the previous government collapsed, after months of pressure from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Accordingly, Ms. Sandu appointed Dorin Recean, a well-known pro-EU figure and current national security adviser, as head of the new government, replacing Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița. The Moldovan parliament, where Sandu’s party holds a majority with 63 out of 101 seats, will vote to confirm the nomination next week.

At a surprise press conference earlier the same day, former Prime Minister Gavrilița announced she would step down along with her pro-Western government. Moldova was granted EU candidate status last June, along with Ukraine, but the Moldovan government has faced intense pressure from Moscow.

“If our government had received the same domestic support we have from our European partners, we would have gone further and faster,” Ms. Gavriliţa said. Moldova is entering a new phase in which security is our top priority.”

The Moldovan government has long accused Russia, whose forces are stationed in the breakaway eastern Transnistria region, of causing unrest in the country, including protests in the capital Chișinău. In an interview with Politico last month, Sandu said that “Russia is using the energy crisis and escalating costs to destabilize Moldova.”

The collapse of the Moldovan government comes just days after Ms Gavriliţa met European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels to assess Moldova’s EU membership prospects.

Bordering Ukraine, Moldova is under increasing pressure from the conflict and is keen to strike a balance as it seeks to defend itself militarily without provoking Moscow.

The country of 2.5 million people, which was 100% dependent on Russian gas before the conflict broke out, has faced soaring inflation and public unrest due to escalating energy costs. .

Sandu, a former Harvard-educated anti-corruption campaigner, last month said a “serious discussion” was taking place in the country, following Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, including the possibility of joining a defense alliance.

In another development, the Moldovan Foreign Ministry announced on February 10 that it would summon the Russian ambassador over the “unacceptable violation of the airspace [Moldova] by a Russian missile” flew over the country as part of Moscow’s large-scale assault on Ukraine.

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