25 C
Brunei
Monday, November 28, 2022
25 C
Brunei
Monday, November 28, 2022
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    EU pledges EUR250M to Moldova to tackle acute energy crisis

    CHISINAU, MOLDOVA (AP) – European Union (EU) Commission President Ursula von der Leyen paid an official visit to Moldova on Thursday, where she announced a EUR250 million support package to help the small nation overcome an acute winter energy crisis amid Russia’s war in Ukraine.

    The EU chief said that Moldova, which neighbours Ukraine, will receive EUR100 million in grants and the same amount again in loans from the 27-nation bloc to help it meet its gas needs this winter, starting January 1. An additional EUR50 million will help the country’s most vulnerable citizens, she said.

    “European solidarity with Moldova is unshakable,” von der Leyen said at a news conference in the capital, Chisinau, after meeting with pro-Western President Maia Sandu. “We assure you that we will do our best to help you through this crisis.”

    Moldova, which has a population of about 2.6 million, is entirely dependent on Russia for its natural gas. But Russia has used that dependence to pressure the country over its alignment with the West and in recent weeks halved its gas supplies, triggering an unprecedented energy crisis as winter begins to grip.

    Sandu has said that Moscow’s decision to reduce supplies amounts to “political blackmail” in the country where household energy tariffs have increased six-fold in the past year amid skyrocketing inflation.

    “We are facing the worst energy crisis in three decades,” Sandu said on Thursday. “A crisis in which energy resources are being used as weapons against democracy.”

    People load firewood from a pallet into a van outside Chisinau, Moldova. PHOTO: AP
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