The EU and Moldova’s Third Sector: Partners in Solving the Transnistria Conflict?
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.
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