Institute for Development andMoldova’s Foreign Policy statewatch Social Initiatives “Viitorul” Issue 15, December 2010OppOrtunities inMOldOvan-GerMan relatiOnsLeonid Litra and Dumitru Rusu 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 post-election bid of theinternational organizations and peace building activities in the region. geopolitical visits inIt aims to create a common platform for discussion and to bring Moldovatogether experts, commentators, officials and diplomats who areconcerned with the perspectives of European Integration of Moldova. Liberalization of theIt is also pertaining to offer to Moldova’s diplomats and analysts a airline market in Moldovavaluable tribune for debating the most interesting and controversialpoints of view that could help Moldova to find its path to EU. G ermany is a reliable partner of Moldova that constantly encourages the European integration demarche of Chisinau and supports in an operational way the reforms that refers, through others, to the education, democratization and security. The recent efforts of retaking the negotiations on transnistrian conflict in the frame of 5+2 negotiations format and the increasing efforts of finding a new solution for country reintegration involved the EU and especially Germany.
2 Moldova’s Foreign Policy statewatchGermany’s proposal of solving thetransnistrian conflict During a speech in Berlin from 2008 of the Russian President Dimitri Medvedev,he proposed a treaty on new security architecture in Europe. The proposal ofMedvedev, grosso modo speaking, has been ignored and forgotten, the Europeansreactions reflecting in a big part the idea of discussing this subject inside OSCE,while Medvedev’s proposal was undermining the existing security treaties likeOSCE or CFE 1 (Treaty of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe). This proposalwas returned on the agenda of the important players, due to Germany, 2 yearsafter it was launched. The Berlin proposal suggests withdrawing the Russianweapons from Transnistria in exchange for promoting by Germany a new treatyregarding the new security architecture in Europe. The mechanism of discussingthese conflicts is the Political and Security Committee between EU and Russia. 2What could be the finalité of theRussian-German discussions? The dialogue between Russia and Germany has already evolved enough toconsider this opportunity a real one. Moreover, the memorandum from Meseberg 3signed by Medvedev and Merkel transposes in the operational phase the formatwhere the security problems will be approached. Brussels was surprised by theresult of the Russian-German discussions, lately also joined by France, even if theEU was not formally consulted and in end, the EU blessed this initiative. 4 In histurn, Medvedev, explained that every idea has its own founders, so that a goodinitiative should be bilaterally discussed. 5 In Moldova, the mass media is very optimistic regarding the discussionsbetween Russia and Germany, as if in the case of some positive evolutions theproblem would be solved already. Although there are attempts to have a technicalapproach to transnistrian problem, many people from Moldova, especially the ethnicminorities, didn’t escape the mentality of the cold war and conspiracy theories,even if it is felt a competition between Russia and the EU in their neighborhood.Russia remains a power that influences the foreign relations of Moldova, and alsothe internal policy. Through others, Russia has been very reserved even at the1 Herpen, Marcel H. Van: (2008), Medvedev’s proposal for a pan-European security pact: its six hidden objectives and how the west shouldrespond, Cicero Working Paper 08-032 Germany asked Russia to withdraw troops in Transnistria, ActMedia, http://www.actmedia.eu/top+story/germany+asked+russia+to+withdraw+troops+in+transnistria/281123 Memorandum, meeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Dimitri Medvedev on 4-5 June 2010 in Meseberg, http://www.bundesregierung.de/nsc_true/Content/DE/__Anlagen/2010/2010-06-05-meseberg-memorandum,property=publicationFile.pdf/2010-06-05-meseberg-memorandum4 Russia and Germany suggest creation of high-level Russia-EU security committee, European Forum, 8/06/2010, http://www.europeanfo-rum.net/news/899/russia_germany_suggest_creation_of_high_level_russia_eu_security_committee5 Rettaman, Andrew; Germany and Russia call for a new EU security committee, EU Observer, 07/06/2010, http://euobserver.com/9/30223str. 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
Moldova’s Foreign Policy statewatch 3beginning of launching the Eastern Partnership initiative, taking into considerationthe fact that Moscow wanted to make sure that the integration process of EUdoes not collide with the integration processes from the region that are guided byRussia. The possibility of Moldova to include Transnistria on the agenda of importantactors in the region has appeared on the background of a general desire to revisethe layout, in which Moldova was framed too, and namely because of this, theTransnistria appearance on the Russian-German agenda must be seen in a largercontext. On the one hand, Russia must prove the availability of having a seriousdialogue with Germany, implicitly the EU, through cooperation on solving thetransnistrian conflict, on the other hand, the EU will promote a more inclusivepolicy toward Russia and it will discuss a possible security revision in Europe. 6The fact that Germany requires Russia for evidence of seriousness in this dialogueand it starts from the transnistrian conflict proves that the transnistrian conflict isinstrumental in this dialogue. At the same time, Russia believes the discussionson the new security architecture in Europe must not be conditioned by Germany 7,and is also willing to validate its gains from Georgia and Ukraine and to limitthe implication of the US in this region. On the other side, it is noteworthy theexperience of the commitments assumed by Russia at the OSCE Summit fromIstanbul (1999) and those assumed by Russia in the Sarkozy Agreement whichregards to the Russian-Georgian war, and much more is questioned the efficiencyof a such kind of agreement if the EU did not manage to build a consolidatedposition towards Russia. Until this moment the US manifested its disinterest in thisproposal, because an unofficial replacement of the NATO-Russian Council by theEU-Russian Committee is not wanted and because of big priorities of the US areIran, Afghanistan, Iraq, China and just partially Russia.Why there are small chances? According to the provided information, the scenario would be the following:Russia contributes to solve the transnistrian conflict and Germany will promote theidea of a pact for the new security architecture in Europe. Chances of this scenarioare small because the main problem is the disproportionate reciprocity of Russiaand Germany. It is hard to imagine how Russia could make an effort and solvethe transnistrian conflict in return for a promise that may be limited to an endlessdiscussion. Would Russia agree to change Transnistria for a promise? On the other side, there is the fact that in spite of the positive actions onthe tactical level, which can be observed by restoring the train circulation throughTransnistria or by intensifying the contacts between the constitutional authoritiesfrom Moldova and the representatives from Transnistria, on the strategic level witha long-range, the EU and Russia’s views are different. The European Union is6 Inayeh, Alina: 2010, Joint EU-Russia crisis management in Europe? Interesting idea…, The German Marshall Fund of the United States Blog,12/06/2010, http://blog.gmfus.org/2010/06/12/joint-eu-russian-crisis-management-in-europe-interesting-idea/7 Konstantin Kosaciov în Germany asked Russia to withdraw troops in Transnistria, ActMedia, http://www.actmedia.eu/top+story/germany+asked+russia+to+withdraw+troops+in+transnistria/28112a str. iacob hîncu 10/1, chişinău Md-2005 republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax email@example.com www.viitorul.org
4 Moldova’s Foreign Policy statewatchpleading for a bigger influence of the EU and the US in the negotiations format andsupports the idea of withdrawal the troops by Russia from the Transnistrian region,and the replacement of the Russian peacekeepers mission by a multinational civilmission with an international mandate. On the other side, Russia is saying thatwithdrawing its troops would provoke a secessionist 8 war and that Moldova isnot able to manage efficiently the governmental act because of political crisis,even though the president Medvedev has much more positive opinions, but whichseem not to be supported by the Russian executive. Eventually, the Russia’sunwillingness is obvious and the fact that all the opportunities of retaking theofficial negotiations in format 5+2 have been missed, most likely, intentionally,even after the OSCE Summit from Astana. 9Conclusions Russian-German discussions regarding Transnistria provide a goodopportunity to externalize the Moldova’s problem and to intensify the finding of asolution for Transnistria. At the same time, the incentives are small for Russia inorder to sustain the official position of Moldova and the EU. Germany’s offer musthave an economic component that would tent Russia to become more cooperative.Ultimately, as the ambassador of an EU state in Moldova says: the result ofRussian-German talks is obvious because the question is not about retaking or notof the official negotiations, but on the contrary, the main question is when thesenegotiations will take place? But, the problem of different strategic views of the EUand the Russian Federation minimizes the hopes from these negotiations. At the same time, all the expectations related to the OSCE Summit fromAstana from the beginning of December did not bring added value to the transnistriansettlement and the ideas of Russian-German consultations were not developed. Finally, it is not clear yet why does Russia need a new mechanism ofconsultations or a new OSCE Summit to withdraw the troops from Transnistria if itreally wants to do this?8 Russia is warning: the troops withdrawal from Transnistria would lead to a war, România Liberă, 15/11/2010, http://www.romanialibera.ro/actualitate/mapamond/rusia-avertizeaza-retragerea-trupelor-din-transnistria-ar-duce-la-reizbucnirea-razboiului-206087.html9 Osipov about the OSCE Summit: It wasn’t a consensus. From three tentative documents, it was legitimated only one, 06/12/2010, Unime-dia, http://unimedia.md/?mod=news&id=27033This 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 firstname.lastname@example.org www.viitorul.orgstr. iacob hîncu 10/1, chişinău Md-2005 republic of Moldova 373 / 22 221844 phone 373 / 22 245714 fax email@example.com www.viitorul.org