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Moldova, EU Sign Cooperation Plan --> Brussels, 22 February 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Moldova today signed a three-year Action Plan with the EU under the bloc's European Neighborhood Policy.

The program is not considered a step toward membership.

Instead, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said the plan offers Moldova a stake in the bloc's single market, closer political cooperation, and the opportunity to participate in some EU policies.

"A door is now open, revealing tantalizing benefits for Moldova. But the action plan goes further, it is also a pact," Ferrero-Waldner said. "In return, we expect to see steps towards economic reform and [the] rule of law, good governance, [respect for] human rights and democracy.

Ferrero-Waldner said Moldova must begin by ensuring that the 6 March parliamentary elections are free and fair.

Moldovan Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev said the Moldova is a "European country and wishes to become a full-fledged member of the EU."