miercuri, 20 septembrie 2017

The EU Role in Conflict Prevention & Conflict Resolution in Fragile – Conflict-Affected Countries: the Moldovan Case

The European Union as a collective of its member states is concerned with conflicts from its neighborhood, because the security from this area is a condition of its own security and wealth (prosperity). The EU is vitally interested in having as neighbors a community of values, such as democracy, human rights, rule of law etc., which is a guaranty for stable development and for modernization of any country.
Among the EU neighbors are fragile and conflict-affected countries. There is direct link between notions of fragile and conflict-affected. It looks like it is an axiom that every conflict-affected state first was fragile. Fragility means the existence is a multitude of internal vulnerabilities that increase risks and threats from abroad. One of such states is the Republic of Moldova, which, since 1992, faces a frozen conflict in the Eastern part of its territory. Unfortunately, Chisinau authorities have difficulties in addressing effectively the conflict; they do not have a vision and, respectively, a policy, a strategy, a tactics and an action plan for conflict resolution. More than that, business with economic agents from uncontrolled territory brings incomes to legal authorities. Probably, that is why there is a lack of political will at the governmental level to solve the conflict. An important aspect of the fragility of the Moldovan state is the weak state identity, what conditions the lack of societal security. Among Eastern European countries, Moldova is placed between Belarus, integrated into the geopolitical space controlled by Russia, and Ukraine, determined to integrate into the Euro-Atlantic area. In the Republic of Moldova there is a president – an exponent of about half of the electorate, who speaks for deep relations with the Russian Federation and there are pro-European integration forces, currently represented by two extra-parliamentary parties.
The specificity of the Moldovan case concerns some elements that may seem odd: the presence of Moldovan duty free shops at the Moldova – Ukrainian border, on Transnistrian segment, the hosting in Chisinau and providing protection to the former president of the unrecognized Transnistrian republic by the Chisinau authorities and other. Based on these, some analysts say that in fact there is no a Transnistrian conflict, there are very good relations between the elites from Chisinau and Tiraspol, to whom the current status quo is appropriate because it brings them income. In the same time, there are very good relations between populations from the two banks of the Dniester River. Regular shots can not be imagined between soldiers from both sides, as in Karabakh. The “Sheriff”'s football team in Tiraspol is a multiple champion of the Republic of Moldova, and is not the only Transnistrian team that participates in the championship.
The European Union has clear interests in stabilizing its Eastern neighborhood. However, since now, its action beyond its boundaries has been limited. The experience from the Eastern Partnership Program showed that the financial assistance – for governments of neighboring countries, which declared themselves „pro-European integration”, but in fact are suspected of corruption and embezzlement by domestic societies and by international actors – is not quite effective in helping the societies from those countries. EU must find other, more effective, ways to contribute to the stabilization and modernization of those countries. Understanding very well that the conflicts outside the Union, at the EU borders, are dangerous and are potential outbreaks for the EU destabilization, Brussels must participate in conflict management and in conflict resolution – in finding solutions for the conflicts and solutions in order to help neighboring countries to become “normal” – i.e. not fragile (it is about to change the state status).    
Undoubtedly, EU must have an efficient approach to conflicts and crises in fragile – conflict-affected countries, to contribute to their development, by designing and applying a common strategic vision of conflict prevention (before crisis emerged or violence erupts). From the perspective of societies from the Eastern European countries, which want to become parts of the European family, EU is the only supporter, which can help by imposing conditions on authorities from their own countries.
Still, the European Neighborhood Policy and the European Security Strategy must take into account the specificity of fragile states, which, in many cases are captured (the state institutions are captured by some oligarchic groups). Often, to help from outside a captured state means to help the oligarchic regime from that state.
An efficient engagement of the EU in a fragile – conflict-affected country, in exchange for financial assistance, without which it can not survive, would be the takeover of the Anti-Corruption Center by EU representatives and the creation of an Anti-Corruption Court in which EU exponents would examine the files submitted by the Anti-Corruption Center. Such an EU commitment would substantially improve the moral environment in the assisted state (for example – in Moldova).
The EU is an important actor, which plays and will play a special role in regional and in global context in conflict management, conflict resolution, but first – in conflict prevention. That is why it is important for Brussels to develop relations with real pro-European political forces and experts from civil societies of neighboring countries, in order to help those countries (nations), not dubious (corrupted) political regimes. 

Under the new conditions, the EU, together with Ukraine, could exert pressure on the authorities in Chisinau, in order to make them to manifest political will and to settle the Transnistrian conflict. 

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