With the formulation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2003-2004 and the signature of the EU-Moldova Action Plan in 2005, the EU became a more active player in Moldova, including on solving the Transnistrian conflict. This report sets out to analyze the EU’s engagement with local civil society organizations (CSOs) in their efforts to transform the conflict and also to assess their impact and effectiveness in doing so. In the first section, the report provides a brief outline of the conflict. Next, the report considers the domestic environment in which CSOs operate in Moldova/Transnistria, which provides a first insight into the potential for effectiveness and impact in transforming the conflict. The third section looks at the EU’s policies towards Moldova/Transnistria and in particular at its involvement in the resolution of the conflict. In the fourth section the EU’s engagement with civil society in Moldova is analyzed (in particular the EU’s ability to change the structure in which CSOs operate). In the fifth section 16 CSOs (8 from Moldova and 8 from Transnistria) are studied in terms of their activities, impact and effectiveness relating to conflict transformation. The sixth section tests the three hypotheses (the liberal peace paradigm, the leftist critique and the realist critique). The conclusion provides a synthesis of the three hypotheses and is followed by a series of policy recommendations. The paper argues that support for civil society activities appears to offer more possibilities to change the conflict’s status quo than mediation efforts, especially considering the growing consolidation of civil society in Moldova.
Paper produced in the context of the MICROCON project (Work Package 11, "Conflict in the European Neighbourhood"), funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Research Programme. Subsequent version published in Nathalie Tocci (ed.), The European Union, Civil Society and Conflict, London and New York, Routledge, 2011, p. 75-95 (Routledge/UACES contemporary European studies ; 19).
1. The Transnistrian conflict (a brief overview)
2. The domestic environment in which the CSOs operate
3. The EU’s policies towards Moldova/Transnistria
3.1. The framework of EU-Moldova relations
3.2. The EU’s involvement in solving the Transnistria conflict
4. The EU’s engagement with civil society in Moldova/Transnistria
4.1. The EU and civil society in Moldova
4.2. The EU, civil society in Transnistria and the UNDP
5. Effectiveness and impact of Moldovan/Transnistrian CSOs
6. The EU’s engagement will civil society: testing three hypotheses
6.1. Hypothesis 1: The liberal peace paradigm
6.2. Hypothesis 2: The Leftist Critique
6.3. Hypothesis 3: The Realist Critique
Recommendations for Moldova/Transnistria, their CSOs and the EU