CHISINAU -- Moldova’s Constitutional Court has ruled that a 200 million-euro ($216 million) loan agreement with Russia is unconstitutional.
"The court decision is final and cannot be challenged," the head of the Constitutional Court, Domnica Manole said on May 7, two weeks after the loan agreement was ratified by parliament.
The government had hoped the 10-year loan would help plug a rapidly growing budget deficit because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But the pro-Western opposition has criticized the agreement, saying that it poses a long-term "danger" because of obscure provisions that would channel the money toward unnecessary projects that favor Russian companies.
It has also said that Russia's motivation in providing the loan is to back the Moscow-friendly President Igor Dodon, who plans to run for a second term later this year.
Dodon condemned the Constitutional Court’s “cynical” decision, saying it will negatively “affect employees, retirees, the medical system, the business environment, [and] the entire economy.”
Sandwiched between EU member Romania and Ukraine, Moldova is one of Europe's poorest countries. It has reported more than 4,600 coronavirus infections and 145 deaths so far.