It is now easier than ever for Moldovans to flee the poorest nation in Europe. Neighbouring Romania just opened two consulates to keep up with the crushing demand for passport applications under a special Romanian decree. And that has the European Union worried about a flood of Moldovans legally entering its economically struggling area.
Last year, Romanian President Traian Basescu announced that most Moldovans of Romanian descent would be eligible for the fast-track passports, which, under EU rules, would entitle the holders to work anywhere in Europe. “According to our forecasts, approximately two million Moldovans will be granted Romanian nationality,” forecast Basescu. That would be half the impoverished nation’s population. To date, more than 800,000 applications have been received. Some Moldovan politicians worry that the passport gambit is a way for Basescu to assimilate their nation into his dream of a greater Romania; EU statesmen fear the plan could further destabilize the continent.