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Tens of thousands rally in Moldova to demand EU membership

Tens of thousands of Moldovans gathered on Sunday at a rally in the country's capital Chisinau to show their support for their country to join the European Union.

The rally opened with the Moldovan Anthem and European Union Anthem, Beethoven's Ode to Joy, after which participants chanted "Europe" and "Europe Moldova".

Moldovan President Maia Sandu spoke at the event that attracted around 75,000 demonstrators and was joined by European Parliament President Roberta Metsola.

"In the European Parliament, we recognise the great efforts your country has made to implement the European Commission’s nine steps for reform and to align itself with the EU acquis," Metsola said while addressing the crowd.

"Moldova is already ready for deeper integration in the EU single market."

Moldova was granted EU candidate country status along with Ukraine in June last year, which Sandu described at the time as "the light at the end of the tunnel".

Sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, Moldova has often been at the centre of a struggle between Moscow and the West.

In February Sandu accused Russia of trying to seize power in her tiny country. It already has a breakaway region, Transnistria, where Russia has stationed a small number of troops.

Ahead of the rally, the government ran information campaigns inviting people to attend and put on more public transport on Sunday to make it easier for them to join the rally.

In recent years, Moldova has seen widespread disillusionment with post-Soviet politics and an exodus of thousands of Moldovans to live and work abroad.

Watch Euronews' report in the video player above to learn more.