BRUSSELS – The European Commission has announced it will unlock millions of euros in financial aid to Moldova thanks to some progress on reforms made by the impoverished Eastern European country.
Speaking in Brussels on July 15, the EU's enlargement commissioner, Johannes Hahn, said 14.5 million euros of EU aid targeting public administration as well as vocational training would be transferred “in the next couple of days.”
Hahn explained the aid was being unfrozen because the Moldovan government “is making progress on issues which are linked to the disbursement of money.”
Hahn also said another unspecified amount of EU financial aid to Moldova was likely to be released sometime in the fall.
In November 2018, the European Commission announced it had cut financial assistance to Moldova by 20 million euros in both 2017 and 2018. The move came amid concerns about the rule of law and perceived democratic backsliding in the tiny country.
In July 2018, the European Commission also froze the 100 million euro macro-financial assistance (MFA) program for Moldova.
Hahn said on July 15 the MFA could be unblocked if the Moldovan government continues to implement reforms.
“We also are looking how we can enable the disbursement of macro-financial assistance which should take place, the first installment at the beginning of autumn, and maybe there's an opportunity to have even a second one by the end of the year in order really to support all the efforts, all the challenges, the country is facing,” Hahn told reporters on the sidelines of the EU Foreign Affairs Council.
The new government of Moldova, made up by the pro-European ACUM group and the pro-Russia Socialist Party, was formed in June after months of political deadlock that followed inconclusive parliamentary elections in February.
The new prime minister, Maia Sandu, has pledged that improving ties with the EU is her government’s priority.