PARIS (AFP) – Moldova will need an additional EUR1.1 billion to get through this winter in the face of acute energy shortages, its foreign minister told AFP on Friday.
The small, poor former Soviet republic, wedged between Romania and Ukraine, has been running low on energy over the past weeks as Russia, which provides almost all of Moldova’s gas, has reduced supplies.
Electricity from Ukraine has also become scarce due to strikes on Ukrainian power stations as part of the war that started in February.
“Our situation is very, very difficult,” Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said on the margin of the Paris Peace Forum, an annual event on global governance.
“Our country is under threat militarily, but also in terms of energy and the economy,” he said, adding that Moldova, which has a population of 2.6 million, was seeking alternative energy sources.
“The situation is going become even more difficult this winter,” Popescu said. But he added:
“We will continue to manage.”
If EUR1.1 billion were made available, Moldova would make it through to April, he said, although there was uncertainty concerning its exact needs. His remarks came a day after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced EUR250 million in financial aid to Moldova to help it cope with the energy crisis.
“European solidarity with Moldova is unshakable,” von der Leyen told a press conference in the capital, Chisinau, to announce the “energy support package”.
Under the package, Moldova is from next January to receive EUR100 million in grants and EUR100 million in loans to help it “meet its gas supply needs”.
Moldova officially applied to join the European Union just after the start of the war in Ukraine.
On Friday, Popescu said he hoped a donor conference scheduled for November 21 in Paris would produce fresh funds, following on from two previous such meetings this year which collected pledges of around EUR600 million each.
That money, however, included the confirmation of previous promises, he said, and part of the money was being used to aid the 80,000 Ukrainian refugees in his country.