Publications 2014

Transnistria - Where to?

13 March 2014
Paul Ivan (Senior Policy Analyst)

At the Vilnius summit of the Eastern Partnership in November 2013, Moldova initialled its Association Agreement with the EU, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) agreement, and is expected to sign the documents before the end of August 2014.

Meanwhile, Russia has increased its presence and pressure in the region, as a consequence of which Armenia declined the AA and DCFTA with the EU and Ukraine, after months of protests and political paralysis, now has part of its territory occupied by Russia. Moldova is no exception to Russian pressure. As the country gets closer to upgrading relations with the EU, Russia has increased its activities in Moldova, including in the autonomous region of Gagauzia and in the breakaway region of Transnistria.

Even though the “5+2” negotiations for the settlement of the Transnistria conflict continue, the number of incidents in and around this region have increased. The window of opportunity created by the involvement of Germany in the settlement of the conflict and the restart of the “5+2” negotiations in late 2011 seems to have closed. Given the recent events in the region and in Moldova/Transnistria, including the potential impact of DCFTA and visa liberalisation, Chisinau finds it increasingly difficult to manage the juggling act between its EU commitment and dialogue with Tiraspol. This Policy Brief presents the background, state of play and prospects of the Transnistria conflict while also focusing on the potential impact of Moldova’s Association Agreement with the EU on the settlement of the conflict.

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