European Neighbourhood Policy and the Conflict in Transnistria

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THE TRANSNISTRIAN CONFLICT. Ethno political conflict with a strong ideological component => armed conflict (1991-1992) => geopolitical frozen conflict (1992-2006)Its beginning coincided with the beginning of Moldovan statehood Has got the West's attention only from 2003 on, against the backgroun

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European Neighbourhood Policy and the Conflict in Transnistria

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1. European Neighbourhood Policy and the Conflict in Transnistria By Professor Adrian Pop, Ph.D. Faculty of Political Sciences “Dimitrie Cantemir” University Bucharest, Romania

2. THE TRANSNISTRIAN CONFLICT Ethno political conflict with a strong ideological component => armed conflict (1991-1992) => geopolitical frozen conflict (1992-2006) Its beginning coincided with the beginning of Moldovan statehood Has got the West’s attention only from 2003 on, against the background of NATO and EU enlargement to the East From a post-Soviet conflict to a European one

3. GEOPOLITICAL AND GEO-ECONOMIC ASPECTS: RUSSIA Transnistria, Nagorno-Karabach, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Adjaria frozen conflicts materialize Russia’s near abroad concept Transnistria – Russia’s most advanced stronghold to the West, near the common NATO-EU eastern border of Romania Russia’s involvement in the conflict The 14th Army support in the armed conflict The signing of the ceasefire agreement (1992) Peacekeeping role Mediator role

4. GEOPOLITICAL AND GEO-ECONOMIC ASPECTS: DNESTR MOLDOVAN REPUBLIC (DMR) Mafia-type illicit activities; a generator and facilitator of asymmetrical risks and threats Part of a criminal network within CIS; the alliance between DMR, Abkhazia and South Ossetia (2004) Catalyst for secessionist movements; arms producer for conflict areas Important electric energy producer and transfer node; RM’s energy dependence on DMR’s Cuciurgani electric plant (now in Russian hands)

5. THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF THE CONFLICT Hits RM economy by re-export activities, depriving RM of taxes and hampering investments Magnifies the economic dependence of RM Prevents control over the whole RM territory and RM borders Prevents RM government to guarantee social security Blocks RM government’s decisions Hampers security sector reform in RM Prevents RM to define its own identity Bars the European road of RM

6. CONFLICT RESOLUTION PLANS OSCE Initial mandate: securing the territorial integrity of the state along with a special status for Transnistria Reduction of Russian armaments and the 14th Army troops but not their full withdrawal, despite commitments taken at the OSCE Summits in Istanbul (1999) and Porto (2002) The OSCE Plan (2002): a federation of “state entities” - Transnistria and Gagauz-Yeri - with their own constitutions and laws and a federal parliament with two chambers; it meant the breaching of the Moldovan Constitution, of the OSCE mandate and of the ruling party’s programme The OSCE Washington summit resolution (2005): it was agreed upon to combine the Russian and Ukrainian plans into a single framework document

7. CONFLICT RESOLUTION PLANS RUSSIA Kozak Memorandum (2003): recipe for the “transnistrianization” of RM - a federal state with 2 entities, DMR and the Gagauz-Yeri - a bicameral Parliament, the federal entities having an a priori 50 per cent of votes and the Senate having the right to veto any piece of legislation regarding the federation - official languages: Moldovan and Russian - the withdrawal of Russian peacekeeping troops: sometime around the year 2030 - rejected by President Voronin and the Maastricht OSCE Summit (2003) Belkovski Plan (2004 & 2006): Bessarabia vs. Transnistria - DMR’s de jure independence and future unification with Russia in exchange for Bessarabia’s reunification with Romania - partly “legitimized” by the recent Transnistrian referendum (2006)

8. CONFLICT RESOLUTION PLANS UKRAINE Yuschenko Plan (2005) - DMR authorities would have got an implicit recognition as “part of the negotiation process” - the Supreme Soviet, would have got its legitimacy, as mandatory and urgent elections for it were called upon, supervised by OSCE - DMR: “a republic within the Republic of Moldova” with its own constitution, symbols and official languages (Moldovan, Russian and Ukrainian) - the representation in the Conciliation Committee would have favoured the blocking of OSCE decisions - rejected by Russia but positively received in the West

9. CONFLICT RESOLUTION PLANS REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA Civil society’s 3-D Strategy (2003) - demilitarization - decriminalization - democratization The Status Law (2005) - Transnistria got a special juridical status as a “territorial administrative unit in form of a republic” - well received by OSCE, rejected by Russia, Ukraine and DMR

10. CONFLICT RESOLUTION PLANS ROMANIA Initially a part of the mediation process, soon after excluded from it Throughout the acting Romanian presidency of OSCE (2001) it decided to transfer the Transnistrian issue on the agenda of the incoming Portuguese presidency Civil society’s recommendations (2005) for a Cyprus scenario for RM: letting out Transnistria and focus on EU accession President Traian Basescu (2006): “Romanian-Moldovan reunification will be made within EU”

11. CONFLICT RESOLUTION NEW OPPORTUNITIES ENP ENP’s primary goal: to create a ring of friendly states at the EU periphery The incorporation into the ENP of a soft conditionality principle ENP’s focus on forging a common market: not only economic, but also security benefits ENP’s emphasis on transborder cooperation: forging the interaction with neighbours The role or regional cooperation: getting closer to the EU; RM’s accession to the SEECP Romania as RM’s natural partner on its road to the EU The EU-Moldova Action Plan (till 2008) Priorities set forth in the Action Plans: transport, energy, justice and home affairs The Transnistrian conflict gets a special attention The EU monitoring mission at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border, (2005-2007): the first display of the ENP security dimension in the Black Sea region

12. CONFLICT RESOLUTION NEW OPPORTUNITIES ESDP A possible future civilian EU-led police monitoring mission which would have Transnistria as its first implementation ground in the former Soviet area Following the Bosnian model, the cooperation of non-EU states, including Russia and Ukraine, is desirable and feasible

13. CONFLICT RESOLUTION NEW OPPORTUNITIES ROMANIA’S ROLE Optimizing the management of the future EU eastern border Producing a multidimensional strategy on Romania’s relations with RM and Ukraine A possible 2+2 format of know how transfer from Romania and Poland to RM and Ukraine in the areas of democratization and security sector reform Supporting diplomatically the goal of upgrading the status of the EU and US (currently observers) in the current pentagonal framework of negotiations on Transnistria

14. CONFLICT RESOLUTION NEW OPPORTUNITIES ROMANIA’S ROLE Participating, after EU accession, to the EU monitoring mission of the Moldovan-Ukrainian border and also to a possible future EU Petersberg mission in Transnistria Making good use of Romania’s triple status as NATO member, future EU member, and future US military bases host, to facilitate the forging of a consensus on the international community’s strategy for the Black Sea region Securing a follow-up for the Black Sea Forum Launching, after the EU accession, an EU Black Sea Dimension following the model instituted by Finland with its Northern Dimension.

15. Conclusions The need to avoid transforming Transnistria into a Black Sea Kaliningrad Political will for a decisive action is crucial The opportunities presented by ENP and ESDP should be used at their full potential A sustainable solution for Transnistria is a precondition for RM’s becoming a democratic and prosperous EU neigbouring country

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