Thousands protest as pro-European cabinet takes power in Moldova

Thousands clashed with police Wednesday in Moldova as the nation's parliament approved a new pro-European prime minister and his cabinet, the TASS news agency reported.

Prime Minister Pavel Filip, who was appointed to the post last week, had to declare the members of his cabinet of ministers while standing in the hall, as opposition socialists blocked the central rostrum, the report said.

The socialists, who support Moldova's traditionally strong ties with its former Soviet ruler Moscow, have denounced the new cabinet as illegitimate and called for a snap election.

Outside the parliament building, thousands of protesters clashed with police, the news agency said in a separate report.

Moldova "is in great need of stable leadership, with the determination and energy required to address a number of problematic issues, including high-level corruption," Johannes Hahn, EU commissioner for neighbourhood policy, said at a European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg, France.

"I just got the information that there was a positive vote on a new government and I hope this is now a stable one," Hahn added. "I think we should support each kind of government which is ready to undertake the necessary reforms."

"It's also important to provide the necessary substantial support in terms of staff, human resources, but also if needed – and this is definitely the case – in terms of money, provided that there is a positive assessment by the IMF," Hahn said, referring to the International Monetary Fund.

Last year the former Soviet republic signed an association agreement with the European Union, angering locals who believe the country has fared better with support from Russia.

Moldova is one of the poorest countries in Europe. Its economy was crippled last year when a billion dollars - about one-eighth of the country's gross domestic product - went missing from local banks.

Months later, Moldova's former prime minister, the pro-European Chiril Gaburici, said he would resign from the post after allegations that his high school diploma was fake.

Last update: Wed, 20/01/2016 - 19:23
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