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EU ready for new partnership talks with Moldova

EU ready for new partnership talks with Moldova

The European Union is ready to start talks on a new special partnership with Moldova, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said Friday.

The new partnership will be "a powerful tool to promote deeper cooperation and approximation between Moldova and the EU," said Bildt, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, in a statement after talks in Chisinau.

"The EU decision to start negotiations testifies to the progress made by Moldova in implementing reforms and its commitment to continuing on the reform path. The new agreement will help Moldova realise these goals," he said.

The agreement will replace and update the old partnership accord between them dating from 1998. A mandate for the negotiations has already been given to the European Commission.

No date was given for the start of talks, but it was due to happen "shortly".

Moldova, a former Soviet republic, is one of six eastern European countries within the EU's so-called Eastern Partnership which was launched in May and holds out the perspective of political association and economic integration with the EU.

It was part of Romania between World War I and World War II before being annexed by the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin and shares a common language and culture with its EU member neighbour.

The country of 4.3 million wedged between Romania and Ukraine has few natural resources and is Europe's poorest state measured by per-capita income.

One quarter of the active working population works abroad to send funds back to Moldova, where the average monthly wage is just over 250 dollars (168 euros). (AFP)

tags: European | Union

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