Moldova’s parliament has approved a new pro-EU prime minister, 38-year-old businessman Chiril Gaburici, despite concerns of possible backlash from Russia.
Gaburici has vowed to make European integration a top priority for his government and ensure Moldova can qualify to apply for EU membership by 2018.
Moldova has been governed for five years by a pro-Europe coalition.
The pro-Europe bloc won again in parliamentary elections in November, when Moldovans went to the polls aware that the separatist war in eastern Ukraine was triggered by Kyiv pursuing similar policies in the face of Moscow’s opposition.
Russia has threatened that Moldova’s drive for closer ties to the EU could cause it to lose control of the breakaway pro-Russian region of Transdniester and lead to higher prices for Russian natural gas.
Moscow has already put pressure on Moldova’s economy by banning imports of Moldovan wine, vegetables, and meat.
With reporting by Reuters