From a basic treaty to a treaty regarding the border's regime
Institute for Development andMoldova’s Foreign Policy statewatch Social Initiatives “Viitorul” Issue 14, December 2010From a basic treatyto a treaty regardingthe border’s regimeIon Tăbîrță and Cornel Ciurea Next topicsMoldova’s Foreign Policy Statewatch represents a series of briefanalyses, written by local and foreign experts, dedicated to the to be covered:most topical subjects related to the foreign policy of Moldova,major developments in the Black Sea Region, cooperation with opportunities ininternational organizations and peace building activities in the region. Moldovan-GermanIt aims to create a common platform for discussion and to bring relationstogether experts, commentators, officials and diplomats who areconcerned with the perspectives of European Integration of Moldova. post-election bid of theIt is also pertaining to offer to Moldova’s diplomats and analysts a geopolitical visits invaluable tribune for debating the most interesting and controversialpoints of view that could help Moldova to find its path to EU. Moldova A long with the two decades, the matter of signing an inter-governmental agreement between Moldova and Romania provoked many emotional discussions, in Chisinau, as well as in Bucharest. Lately, this subject was replaced with another one, regarding the signing of a border agreement. The protraction of these processes is due to linguistic and historical divergences that put into the shade the technical aspects of the Moldovan - Romanian governmental relation, which is highly politicized, in many cases in an exaggerated and useless way. Even if the pure technical aspects of a Moldovan – Romanian treaty must not had put major problems, the Romanian side did not accept the signing of the treaty because of some “details” that it cares about, and Chisinau, particularly during the communist government, tried to introduce in the document a set of political provisions with senseless historical connotations, unacceptable for Bucharest. The last discussions from Chisinau, related to the signing of the agreement regarding the border system emphasize a new important factor that blocks the ratification process – the internal rivalries inside The Alliance for European Integration and the alleged non- constitutional feature of the signing process.
2 Moldova’s Foreign Policy statewatchBasic political treaty:general aspects The problem of the border or basic political treaty appears, usually, between the states with historicalrelations full of controversies. Many neighboring states, especially because of the inheritance of historicalcontroversies do not prefer to sign basic treaties, not to touch many sensitive points from the society. Forexample, Germany even today doesn’t have a basic political and classical treaty with Austria. It is also thecase of many countries from Central Europe and South-Eastern Europe that have difficult relations andplenty of prevarications between them because of the complicated historical past. Many times, concluding abasic political treaty served as a reconciliation way between two states with a historical conflict relation. Thesame Germany (federal), through bilateral political treaties, which were signed at the beginning of the 1970sof the past century, has reestablished its relations with the Soviet Union, Poland, The Democratic GermanRepublic and Czechoslovakia.The history of the Moldovan –Romanian treaty The initiative of a Moldovan – Romanian treaty came from Moldovan President Mircea Snegur, buthis Romanian counterpart, Ion Iliescu, launched it after a meeting between them in Bucharest on the 19th ofJuly 1991. In the 1992, in the context of transnistrian conflict, Chisinau wanted a basic political treaty withBucharest for counterbalance the speculation of a possible unification between the Republic of Moldova andRomania, conveyed by the separatists from Tiraspol and some political circles from Moscow. Even from the beginning it came out the different approach of the possible treaty between Chisinauand Bucharest. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Bucharest wanted „A fraternity and integration treaty”.In his turn, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Moldova has proposed that the documentshould be entitled: „Fraternity and Cooperation Treaty”. In other words, Romania did not want a standardinternational treaty, as a usual one, but with a special juridical connotation that could correspond to theideals of the Romanian people from both states. The Republic of Moldova has replied back appreciatingthat the approach of Romanian part undermines from the beginning the idea of statehood and Moldovanindependence, the political class from Chisinau pleading for a usual international treaty. The Romania’s aspirations of joining NATO caused in a direct way, which on the 28th of April 2000,after seven years of contradictory discussions, Chisinau and Bucharest managed to initialing the Treaty ofPrivileged Partnership and Collaboration between Republic of Moldova and Romania. The lack of political consensus on the treaty provisions of the 28th of April, in Chisinau as well as inBucharest, made the signing impossible. The power changes from Romania at the end of 2000 and fromMoldova at the beginning of 2001, has determined the abandonment of this treaty. The social-democraticgovernment from Romania preferred further a treaty of fraternity between the both states, and the Moldovancommunists from the beginning denied it pretending the “Romanization” of the Republic of Moldova stipulatedin the content of the treaty. After the “cold war” in the Moldovan-Romanian relations from 2001-2002, at the beginning of 2003,the Moldovan government insisted permanently on the need of signing the basic political treaty and of theborder agreement on juridical regulation between the two states. On the 8th of October 2003, the presidentof the Republic of Moldova, Vladimir Voronin, signed even a decree for initiating the negotiations on the draftproject of the treaty between Romania and Moldova which refers to the regime of state border, collaborationand mutual assistance concerning the border problems. In reply, Bucharest declared about the uselessnessof signing such a treaty between Romania and Moldova. In addition, after 2001 the optical approach on the treaty itself has polarized. If Bucharest wanted tostipulate in the treaty of the phrase „one nation, two states”, then Chisinau was insisting on the „two nations,two states” approach. Even the imminence of geographical rapprochement of the EU to the Moldova’sborders did not manage, in the first phase, to change the dates of problem. Chisinau preferred further aclassic interstate political treaty. Bucharest was considering this type of treaty as being obsolete and wasstr. iacob hîncu 10/1, chişinău Md-2005 republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax email@example.com www.viitorul.org
Moldova’s Foreign Policy statewatch 3pleading for signing a European Partnership Agreement. On the contrary, after Romania joined the EU, the problem of the basic treaty and of the Agreementregarding the state boarder between Romania and Moldova acquired new valances. Chisinau tried to linkthese two documents with the Convention concerning the small traffic at the Moldovan - Romanian border,insisting on their “package” signing. The “package” approach of this problem generated the refusal ofBucharest, leading therefore the political dialogue to an impasse, even though in 2008, the treaty regardingthe state border regime between Moldova and Romania had been elaborated in a proportion of 95%.The agreement’s European contextfrom the 8th of November 2010 After the 29th July 2009 the Alliance for European Integration took office the relations betweenChisinau and Bucharest have changed. The Government from Chisinau tried to prove its Europeanintentions by performing concrete actions. In a short time, the Convention concerning the small traffic at theMoldovan - Romanian border has been uncoupled from the problem of basic treaty and from the agreementregarding the state border regime, which was signed on the 13th of November 2009. The normalization ofMoldovan – Romanian relation coincided chronologically with the Romania’s efforts to join the Schengen,which required fulfillment of some preconditions, especially related to border security. Despite the fact thatRomanian president, Traian Basescu, repeatedly declared, that he will not sign a border treaty to approvethe Ribbentrop-Molotov pact, European context imposed the Romanian president to partially revise hisposition. On the 8th of November 2010 the Prime-minister Vlad Filat and the Minister of Foreign Affairs ofRomania, Teodor Baconschi signed an interstate treaty entitled Treaty regarding border regime. It is knownthat there were made pressures on the Romanian government in order to sign this agreement. During a visitin October to Bucharest, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, suggested that signing of the Agreementregarding the border regime between Moldova and Romania would be a step forward in the context of EUrelation with the eastern neigbourhood. To the Europeans perspective, signing such an agreement wouldserve two convergent aims – removing Romania from accusation list, considered by some actors as arevisionist power and encouraging the democratic processes from Moldova by eliminating from electoralcontext the argument of “the Romanian danger”. Nevertheless, the signing of this agreement (followed by a possible ratification in both stateParliaments) raises some question marks. Firstly, it is about a linguistic shade. Many European leadersbut also the Moldovan Communist Party leaders insisted on signing a Border Agreement, more significantfrom a political point of view than the agreement on border regime, signed on the 8th of November, whichis said to be “eminently, technical”. Secondly, it is noticed a discrepancy on the level of persons who signed– the Prime-minister from Moldova and the Minister of Foreign Affairs from Romania. Thirdly, the fact thatno one has access to the text of agreement raises suspicions and it is said that the text of the treaty isgoing to become public only after ratification. Fourth, the constitutional aspect of this agreement itself wasquestioned by the Interim President of the Republic of Moldova Mihai Ghimpu, who declared that Vlad Filatdid not have the required mandate to sign such an interstate agreement. Ghimpu went so far that he alsopresented his doubts about the possibility of ratification this agreement in the Parliament of the Republic ofMoldova. That is why we can conclude that the agreements’ question between Moldova and Romania is stillcontinuing to remain under the insoluble sign – when the political “left” cannot block anymore the solution ofthis problem, this blockage is coming from the political “right”.The problem of the ConstitutionalPart of Agreement The President of Foreign Affairs Committee from the Romanian Parliament Attila Korodi gaveassurances that “the signing of Agreement a week ago by Baconschi and the Prime-minister Vlad Filat does str. iacob hîncu 10/1, chişinău Md-2005 republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax firstname.lastname@example.org www.viitorul.org
4 Moldova’s Foreign Policy statewatchnot represent any problem”. This fact is contested by the Interim President Mihai Ghimpu declaring that VladFilat didn’t have the required mandate for signing. Where does this dispute come from? Probably, it comes from a different interpretation of Moldova’slaws. The Republic of Moldova’s Constitution stipulates in the article 86 that only the President signs theinternational agreements, somehow consecrating the priority in this kind of actions to President. In thiscontext, it must be pointed out that the Constitution of Romania, from where the Moldova’s Constitution isinspired, stipulates an express delegation of attributions from the president to the Prime minister regardingthe international agreements. Unfortunately, the constitution of Moldova is silent about this subject, leavingspace for interpretations. The intervention of the President Mihai Ghimpu regarding the non-constitutionality of the Agreementon the 8th of November is inspired by the idea of President’s preeminence in foreign policy issues, a factconfirmed by the Constitution. At the same time, the law about the Government and the law about theInternational Agreements are offering to the Prime-minister sufficient prerogatives to avoid the President(e.g. the article 10 of the Law regarding the International Agreements that allow the Prime-minister theuse of any act referring to the signing of international agreements without the investment of full powers).Therefore, the denial of accepting the Agreement in its actual form by the President will assume also theconcord with Constitution of a set of laws in which the Prime-minister disposes of the similar prerogativesas the President.Conclusions On the 16th of November, the acting President of the country, Mihai Ghimpu was convinced that thesigning procedure of the agreement was non-constitutional. “International agreements are signed by thePresident. The Prime-minister could have signed just the inter-governmental agreements”, the Presidentdeclared, accusing the Prime-minister Filat of overtaking the attributions. Thus, the Moldovan – Romanianagreement regarding the border regime has the same fate as the other tentative of signing some importantagreements, being questioned, even by the fierce defenders of a more cordial relationship with Romania. At the same time, there are signs that some states from the European Union did not understand exactlythe nature of the signed agreement, suspecting that it is a replacement of a border agreement by a treatyregarding the border regime. This may explain cold relations between Sarkozy and Basescu, although it isnot the only one by all means. The President Ghimpu did not attempt any action against the agreement, being involved in the electoralcampaign and supporting the idea that the agreement risks to not to be ratified. Thereby, the Moldovan –Romanian agreement’s fate regarding the boarder regime is not clear at all. Every change of the power ratioin Chisinau could mean that this agreement will be blocked either in Parliament, either at the ConstitutionalCourt. In consequence, signing of the agreement might suggest just a new stage in the long process oftapping between Chisinau and Bucharest.This publication was produced by idis “viitorul” with the financial support of soros FoundationMoldova and the national endowment for democracy. The opinions expressed in this publicati-on reflect the author’s/authors’ position and don’t necessary represent the views of the donors.str. iacob hîncu 10/1, chişinău Md-2005 republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax email@example.com www.viitorul.orgstr. iacob hîncu 10/1, chişinău Md-2005 republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax firstname.lastname@example.org www.viitorul.org