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Mon. October 22, 2018
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Collateral effect of a Romania and Moldova Union
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By Georgii Kukhaleishvili

Recently, ex-president of Romania Troyan Besescu stated in one of local talk shows that membership of Moldova in the EU is impossible: “Republic of Moldova won’t be a member of the EU. There will be no merging in the East after Ukrainian lesson. [The] Balkan region is only one field for European integration. Moldova could appear within the EU borders only due to union with Romania.”

Such opinion of Mr. Besescu is not sudden. The obstacles for Moldova’s integration to the EU are not only corruption, absence of reforms or incompliance to “the EU standards. The same problems did not stop Romania and Bulgaria to gain full membership in 2007. The main trouble of Moldova’s integration to the EU is a geopolitical situation. Long before opposition of local communists and pro-Russian minority to governmental European oriented policy, unmanaged language issues were used by Kremlin to provoke conflicts in Transnistria and Gagauzia that affected Moldova's image of a failed state with an uncontrolled separatist regime on its territory.  Taking into account that Kantian concepts influenced the EU security strategy, European partners would try to prevent conflicts within borders of their integration community. The EU is interested in a sanitary frontier of relatively stable non-member states along its borders. There is no reason for European states to ensure integration of countries with a high conflict level.

It is difficult to judge wheter a union with Romania would be alternative way for Moldova to be incorporated to the EU. The project of a united state of Romania and Moldova has been discussed for a long time. Both states have agreed to conduct integration processes in the fields of natural gas, oil transportation/consumption and security issues. Before conflict in Transnistria happened in early 90's, the first president of Moldova had conducted a course for unification with Romania in his foreign policy. According to polls in 2000's, the idea of “Great Romania” (with Moldova) was supported by 31% of Moldavian and 52% of Romanian citizens. Having much in common in culture and economy both states might develop as a federation within the EU, like Germany after merging of western and eastern parts in 1989.

But Germany doesn’t even try to succeed in taking back Western Prussia (Kaliningrad oblast), occupied by the USSR as a result of World War II. The same fate is likely to face Transnistria where is a contingent of 100 Russian troops, about 250 armored vehicles, 200 air-defense missile systems and multiple rocket launchers, and 30 000 light weapons still in the territory of the unrecognized republic, and contrary to OSCE arrangements in 1999. Russia is interested to hold Transnistria in its influence and use this separatist regime as information factor to suppress Ukraine. Thoughts about Transnistria to become Russia’s second front for occupation of the whole South-Eastern Ukraine are sometimes discussed in mass-media and in blogs. Also, Moscow holds a large military regiment behind borders of Romania to deter its geopolitical role in Black Sea region. Due to internal instability in Ukraine, militarization of Crimea and neo-Ottoman tendencies in Turkey’s foreign policy, a strong Romania is interesting as a foothold for NATO at its eastern frontiers. The possibility of deploying of NATO antimissile systems in Romania was discussed long before Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

The Kremlin is likely to escalate conflict in Gagauzia, that has language autonomy within Moldova, in the event of arrangements on a union with Romania. Moscow seems to use the Donbas experience of a “hybrid war” in Moldova. Russian diversionists will be sent from Transnistria to imitate military “liberation resist” in the areas of Moldova where the Gagauzian minority resides. In major cities of Moldova, terrorist attacks might be organized with the assistance of local communists and supporters of Russia.

Such scenarios might be possible. That’s why Brussels is likely to deter Bucharest from forming a union with Moldova and preserving the current status-quo in Moldova than solve a new military conflict near its borders. Though, if the EU policy was not so pacifist, the Kremlin’s attempt to destabilize Moldova might be used to create counter threat against Russia.  Cooperative security being popular among Europeans has different forms and permits not only maintaining the heartland and rimland of integration community but prevents potential outside threats by creating counter threats against enemy security. The trial of Russia to oppose the union of Romania and Moldova, after intergovernmental treaty is signed, may be rendered as an obstacle against the right of nations' self-determination. One of the forms of this right is the establishment of federations and confederations. In the event of activity of Russian diversionists against the union of Romania and Moldova, the breach sovereignty of independent states is clear. In other words, the parties of the union are entitled to use the right of collective self-defense under the auspices of NATO, where Romania is a member-state. Moreover, member-states of the EU and NATO will have a full right to place all possible sanctions against Russia, including oil and natural gas embargo and replace its share in the market to Iranian one. To make Russia participate in a new conflict means a final strike to its economy and financial reserves. After interfering into internal policy of Moldova and Romania, the collateral effect for Russia might be more decisive demand of the West to cease fire in Donbas as well as to withdraw Russian terrorist’s troops from member-states of “Eastern partnership”.  This scenario is impossible in conditions of deficit of hawkish politicians in the EU that will be ready to conduct hard policy against Kremlin. So, the project of “Great Romania” won’t be very popular in the nearest future. 

From fraza.ua

Georgii Kukhaleishvili is a free-lance political analyst.  He holds a Masters degree in Political Science from Mariupol State University, Ukraine.

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