Moldova has given Romania's former president citizenship in recognition of his work to strengthen ties between the historical allies.

Spokeswoman for Moldova's president's office, Ana Samson, said Thursday that Traian Basescu, who was president of Romania from 2004-2014, and his wife Maria had received citizenship following a request they submitted in March.

As president, Basescu opened the door for hundreds of thousands of Moldovans with Romanian grandparents to become citizens of European Union-member Romania.

He lobbied for Moldova to move closer to the EU and supported reunification between the neighbors. Moldova was part of Romania until 1940.

Moldova signed an association agreement with the EU in 2014 despite opposition from Russia.

Moldova had accused Romania of being behind violent anti-government violent protests in 2009, which Basescu strongly denied.