EU says Moldova will get $68M for projects as it prepares to sign association agreement

The European Union says it will finance projects worth 50 million euros ($68 million) in Moldova as the former Soviet republic prepares to sign an association agreement with the 28-nation bloc amid protests from Moscow.

During a visit to Chisinau Thursday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso urged Russia not to punish Moldova for signing the trade agreement on June 27.

In the past, Russia has taken punitive trade measures against neighboring Baltic states and Ukraine as those countries sought closer ties with the west.

Barroso said the EU money will be invested in energy and development of rural areas, as well as in reforming the Moldovan police. He said the bloc had doubled its import quotas for fruit and tomatoes from Moldova.