President Traian Basescu said Romania would not allow a "new Iron Curtain" to descend between Romania and Moldova, where almost four out of five Moldovans are of Romanian descent.
Romania will speed up citizenship applications for Moldovans, the president has pledged _ after recent violent anti-government demonstrations in the former Soviet republic.
He told Romanian lawmakers on Wednesday he would fast track citizenship for Moldovans who have at least one Romanian grandparent. Moldova was part of Romania until 1940, when it was annexed to the Soviet Union. Some 120,000 of Moldova's 4.1 million people already have Romanian citizenship and another 650,000 or so are waiting to obtain it, officials say.
Moldovan Communist lawmaker Vladimir Turcan reacted angrily Thursday, saying the country could pass a law banning Moldovans from having more than one citizenship "to protect the state."
Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin accused Romania last week of trying to overthrow the government by supporting anti-communist protesters. He expelled Romania's ambassador and introduced visas for Romanians.
The protesters, mainly young people favoring closer EU ties, accused the Communists of rigging their victory in April 5 elections. They stormed the parliament and the president's office, leading to a crackdown in which 90 people were injured and 200 arrested. Some 75,000 people in Moldova's pro-Russian separatist region of Trans-Dniester are believed to have Russian citizenship. The region is not recognized internationally.
Moldovans need visas for Romania since it joined the EU. Basescu's offer to Moldovans repeated a pledge he made after Romania joined the European Union in 2007.
Romania will NOT bow down to communists again, it happened once and it wont be happening again. Moldovans are considered by most Romanians to be Romanian anyway and we will fight for their right to freedom from crooked and corrupt government.