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Eastern Neighbourhood

51 - Resolution of the Transnistrian dispute

Grade: C-
Unity 3/5
Resources 2/5
Outcome 2/10
Total 7/20
Scorecard 2012: C (8/20)

Member states agree in principle that they should take a more active stance, but no new initiatives have emerged.

The EU seeks to play a central role in a future settlement and also has a clear goal: a power-sharing framework, along the line of the formulas applied in the Western Balkans. There is now a common understanding that Russia should be engaged rather than confronted. However, nuances continue to matter: member states such as Germany (which sees Transnistria as a critical test case) and now also France, tend to put their relationship with Russia before their relationship with the Wider Europe and offer incentives to Moscow rather than to Chisinau or Tiraspol, the capital of the self-proclaimed Transnistrian Republic. Meanwhile, the Alliance for European Integration, which is in power in Moldova, has been calling for more direct and active EU involvement in the dispute. This line is also supported by Romania and draws plaudits from both the European Parliament and High Representative Catherine Ashton

In 2010, Berlin and Moscow pioneered the so-called Meseberg Process for an EU-Russia Security Council, which would address Transnistria among other issues. Similar ideas were floated at the Deauville Summit attended by Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and Dmitry Medvedev in October. Such ambitions to play a more central role have not been fulfilled in 2010, because the EU is still not recognised as a first-rank stakeholder in the ongoing negotiations (see component 20).

However, this is partly the EU’s own fault. It has taken few specific steps beyond the allocation of roughly 15 percent (€41 million) of the EU financial assistance to Moldova for the reintegration of the eastern districts and the operation of the assistance mission at the border with Ukraine (EUBAM, which was allocated €12 million for 2010). It has not produced a detailed strategy, let alone a roadmap, for the solution of the crisis despite the demand coming from Chisinau and the experience with similar issues in the former Yugoslavia