CHISINAU -- Prime Minister Vlad Filat says Moldova sees its place in the European Union and isn't attracted to the "Eurasian Union" envisaged by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.
Filat told RFE/RL in an interview that his country was European "through its geography, history, and culture" and that Moldovans were very much in favor of further European integration via the EU.
"The Eurasian Union is still just a project, but the EU is a reality," said Filat, whose pro-Western government plans to start negotiations for an association agreement with Brussels by the end of the year.
Putin proposed the Eurasian Union of former Soviet countries
in an article in the Russian daily "Izvestia" on October 4, saying it could become a major player in world affairs.
Filat made his remarks after Moldova's opposition Communist Party on October 5 praised Putin's idea for creating a Eurasian Union, with Communist officials saying Chisinau should embrace it.
Communist leader Vladimir Voronin said the Eurasian Union would help Moldova get cheaper natural gas from Russia, and joining such an Eastern bloc was preferable to "waiting to join an EU that does not want" to accept Moldova as a member.
Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Popov also told RFE/RL that Putin's project might work for bigger Commonwealth of Independent States' members, but would not be a good fit for Moldova.
He said a small country like Moldova would be "a minor shareholder" in an organization like the Eurasian Union, where he said decisions would be made according to the economic power of the member states.