Tens of thousands of Moldovans rally in favour of EU membership
Tens of thousands of Moldovans rallied on Sunday to demand European Union membership for their country, whose bid to join the bloc has been accelerated by the war in neighbouring Ukraine.
The former Soviet republic of 2.6 million people applied last year to join the EU and in June 2022 became a candidate country, alongside Ukraine.
More than 75,000 people participated in the demonstration in the centre of the capital, Chisinau, according to initial police estimates.
They waved EU flags and chanted pro-European slogans.
"We came to say loudly, confidently and proudly that Moldovans are Europeans!" President Maia Sandu, who had called for the rally, told the crowd.
She said her country wanted to join the 27-nation EU by 2030.
"This is the chance for our people to live in peace and prosperity," she said.
Fulfilling the necessary criteria for joining the EU was "a road of great efforts ... but it is the only road".
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, who also spoke at the rally, said the EU would support Moldova's bid, adding that it was "already ready for European integration".
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