Moldova Likely to Start Talks to Join EU Soon, Commissioner Says

(Bloomberg) -- Moldova’s bid to join the European Union received a boost Thursday as a senior official in the bloc said the country will likely soon be able to start accession talks.

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The nation of about 2.6 million is working to formally launch negotiations on joining the EU by the end of June after gaining approval to open the talks in December. President Maia Sandu has also called a referendum to be held in October to cement the government’s course toward the bloc amid warnings of potential Russian interference.

When asked during a visit to the Moldovan capital about when talks might begin, EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn said he didn’t want to speculate but was confident they’d happen in the near future.

“Some work still needs to be done, but I am extremely confident that it will be done on time and that we will soon be able to start real negotiations,” he told reporters in Chisinau.

The commissioner was attending a Europe Day event organized by the government, while a few streets away members of the pro-Russian opposition waved flags of the Soviet Union in honor of a day to mark victory in World War II.

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