Romania's prime minister says his country is a champion of Moldova's drive to join the European Union, in remarks before a visit to the ex-Soviet republic.

Premier Dacian Ciolos said Wednesday that "Romania is and will remain a tireless supporter of Moldova's European perspective," praising recent economic reforms made by Moldova's government, which wants to join the EU.

Ciolos travels to Moldova on Thursday, accompanied by six ministers, a visit which comes as Romania prepares to disburse the first installment of a 60-million euro ($68 million) loan to Moldova.

In July, the International Monetary Fund reached an agreement with Moldova for a $179 million, 3-year loan arrangement conditional on the government carrying out reforms.

During his visit, Ciolos will meet counterpart Pavel Filip, members of opposition parties and civic groups.