EU president promises Moldova closer cooperation, urges reforms, corruption cleanup

Associated Press

The EU president has promised Moldova closer cooperation with the European Union, while urging it to reform its justice system and banking sector and fight corruption.

Donald Tusk called Moldova, which neighbors Ukraine and Romania "a key ... partner of the European Union."

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Moldova signed an association agreement with the EU in June 2014, angering Russia which responded by placing an embargo on fruit and some vegetables.

"Right now Moldova is facing hardship both for domestic reasons and for reasons of regional instability and uncertainty," Tusk said Tuesday in Chisinau.

Moldovan officials have recently probed $1.5 billion that vanished from state-owned and private banks before November's elections. Its currency has lost 20 percent value this year.

The current government is backed by Communists who favor a slower approach to reforms.