Officials urge Moldova to seize opportunity for EU membership
Moldova launched a nationwide discussion on securing European Union membership, with senior officials and academics urging their compatriots to seize every opportunity to join the bloc or run the risk of being left behind or sinking into chaos.
Ex-Soviet Moldova, led by pro-European President Maia Sandu and one of the continent's poorest countries, won formal recognition from the EU in June as a candidate for the arduous process of joining the 27-nation bloc.
Buffeted by Moscow's 19-month-old invasion of adjacent Ukraine, which has been regularly denounced by Sandu, Moldova is further beset by the presence on its eastern border of the pro-Russian separatist enclave of Transdniestria.
Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu launched the discussion on EU membership on Friday, saying that public participation "has a critical meaning in building a more prosperous future within the framework of the community of Europe".