Moldovan prime minister Pavel Filip says 'last chance' to end national crisis


Moldova’s prime minister has declared his government faces a “last chance” to regain public trust as the country a battles deep political crisis.

On a visit to neighbouring Romania, Pavel Filip said the elite was to blame after was rocked by mass protests in recent weeks. He called for calm from protesters demanding his resignation.

“The political class now has its last chance to restore Moldovans’ and our international partners’ trust,” said Pavel Filip in an interview with BBC television.

About 40,000 people took to the streets last weekend to demand early elections just days after Pavel’s new government was sworn in – becoming the third such administration to take office within a year.

Filip said he had no intention of resigning, telling the BBC that Moldova desperately needed stable government to avoid a “deep economic and social crisis”.

He added that action would be taken against protesters who “cross a red line and become violent”.

Moldova has been mired in crisis since April when the exposure of a triggered huge protests and the arrest of former prime minister Vlad Filat.

The previous pro-EU government lost a vote of confidence in October and was dismissed, but since then the parliament has been deadlocked over its replacement.

The country is torn between those who want it to join neighbouring Romania in the European Union and those who want closer relations with Moscow, its Soviet-era master.

The nomination on 20 January of a new government did little to calm the protests, with demonstrators trying to storm the parliament as the new administration was sworn in, prompting calls for calm from the EU.

The Romanian prime minister, Dacian Ciolos, said during Filip’s visit on Tuesday that Bucharest would loan its neighbour €150m (£113m/US$163) on the condition that the government pushes through “real reforms”.

“Romania is ready to support Moldova on its European track provided it makes a clear commitment to carry out real reform, and not just on paper,” Ciolos said.

Bucharest had pledged the loan in October but froze it in the midst of the political crisis.

With a population of 3.5 million, Moldova sits wedged between Ukraine and Romania and is one of Europe’s poorest countries.

Although Romania expected to release a first €60m tranche of the loan, this would depend on the outcome of an upcoming visit by IMF officials, Ciolos said.

Filip pledged to push through the reforms aimed at stabilising Moldova’s economy and fighting corruption.

“We will show by our actions that we are determined to implement the promised reforms,” he said.