Russia, EU, trolling for Moldova influence

Dec. 14, 2010 at 10:24 AM
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BRUSSELS, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said the European Union could best help politically divided Moldova with a free trade agreement.

Elections in Moldova on Nov. 28 ended with a split decision, the pro-EU coalition, led by the Liberal Democratic Party, won a majority, but fell two parliamentary seats short of what is needed to elect a president, the EUobserver reported Tuesday.

After returning from a trip to the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, Bildt said, "If you look at what the Moldovan economy needs, it is deep and comprehensive free trade with the EU. That is what can over time lead to a better development of what is today the poorest country in Europe."

Bildt said a trade agreement would support "necessary reforms."

Earlier, it was reported that Russia sent its own mission to Chisinau, headed by President Dmitry Medvedev's Chief of Staff Sergey Nariskin.

Sergey reportedly attempted to make a deal offering Moldova cheap rates for energy imports in exchange for a parliamentary coalition centered on the pro-EU rival Communist Party.

Leaked diplomatic cables indicated Democratic Party leader Marian Lupu, a former communist, was offered $10 million to return to the Communist Party and campaign against the Moldovan Alliance for European Integration.

The cables say Lupu turned down the offer.

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