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9 Dec, 2023 15:43

EU-aspirant's president to punish opposition-controlled cities

Mayors who do not support so-called “European values” will be deprived of funding from the bloc, Moldova’s Maia Sandu says
EU-aspirant's president to punish opposition-controlled cities

Moldovan municipalities controlled by “anti-European” forces will be deprived of funds provided by the EU, the country’s President Maia Sandu has said. 

The president issued the threat on Saturday while speaking at a forum in Chisinau that brought together some 500 mayors, although the gathering was boycotted by certain opposition parties.

“Regarding European money, I want to ask you: those mayors who are against the EU, do you think that the European Union should give you money if you do not support the EU? Where is the logic here?” Sandu asked.

All municipalities will receive “state funds,” yet only those supporting Moldova’s EU aspirations and “European values’’ will be provided with money coming from “from the EU and taxpayers of EU countries,” the president explained. Sandu also accused Eurosceptic politicians of populism, stating that some of them use “anti-European rhetoric to collect votes,” while a “simple analysis shows that Moldova has survived and even begun to develop only thanks to the support of our external partners.”

In recent weeks, the Moldovan president has repeatedly threatened to slash funding to opposition-controlled municipalities. The hostile rhetoric comes in the aftermath of local elections held in early November when 898 mayoral positions were contested across the country.

Sandu’s ruling Party of Action and Solidarity (PAS) failed to score a decisive victory, winning 291 races, with the main opposition force, the Party of Socialists, led by ex-President Igor Dodon taking 144. The rest were taken by either minor parties or independents. PAS suffered losses in key localities, including the country’s capital of Chisinau and the second-largest city of Balti. 

Earlier, Dodon dismissed Sandu’s threats to slash funding to opposition controlled municipalities as “absurd,” stating that the external support to the country has not exactly been coming for free. 

“The loans that the government is now actively taking from EU countries, in an attempt to plug the holes that have emerged due to the failures in the country’s governance, will have to be paid back by all citizens of the republic, including those who, according to Sandu and members of her party, voted incorrectly,” Dodon stated.

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