Moldova asks to join the European Union - a week after Russia invades Ukraine
Moldova has formally asked to join the European Union, a week after Russia invaded Ukraine.
"Today we sign the application for the accession of the Republic of Moldova to the European Union. It is addressed to Emmanuel Macron, President of France, the country that today holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. We will submit the application in the coming days in Brussels," President Maia Sandu said in a statement.
"The Republic of Moldova must have a clear European path. We are ready to do everything possible to achieve this fundamental national goal," she added.
It comes 24 hours after another former Soviet country -- Georgia -- requested membership of the 27-member bloc.
Ukraine, meanwhile, has asked to be rapidly accepted into the union, but doubts remain over whether all EU countries would back enlargement.
Moldova, a small state of 2.6 million people, has been directly impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with more than 112,000 Ukrainian refugees pouring into the country since Moscow launched the attack on 24 February.
"The maturity of a people is best seen in difficult times. It is seen in temperate decisions, in the balance between freedom and responsibility. It is read in the determined calm of the people when a real danger knocks at the door," Sandu said in her statement.
"The citizens of the Republic of Moldova prove to the world that they are a mature people. We proved it when we did not allow tyranny to settle in our country. We have shown that we will only live by the rules when we defend democracy in elections.
"And now, in the days of the war in Ukraine, hearing the cannons on the border of Moldova, we remain mature and offer help to our neighbours, who are fleeing the disaster. We remain neutral, but we remain supportive, calm, generous and responsible," she also said.
She added that "if some decisions need time, others need to be made promptly and decisively, using the opportunities offered by the changing landscape of the world. We must act immediately when circumstances require and we see clearly the opportunity to ensure a safer, better life for future generations. Achieving this goal is our duty to the citizens."