More than two decades after the territory of Transnistria declared its independence from the post-Soviet state of Moldova, the EU has a real opportunity to solve the conflict and reunite Moldova.  

New developments have created conditions for potential progress on Transnistria: Angela Merkel visited Moldova in August 2012; Russia appointed Dmitry Rogozin, a political heavyweight, to Transnistria; and both Moldova and Transnistria have recently elected new leaders.

But although Transnistria has the reputation of being the most solvable of the post-Soviet conflicts, a quick and dirty deal might be detrimental to long-term progress.

The authors of ‘Transnistria: a bottom-up solution’, Nicu Popescu and Leonid Litra, argue that what both Moldova and Transnistria need from the EU are policies that encourage reforms and improvements to the lives of their citizens. This will pave the way towards a formal deal on reintegration.
“A real solution to the conflict will involve helping the people of Moldova and Transnistria see that their lives will improve if they reintegrate and continue to pursue meaningful reforms.” - Nicu Popescu.

  • Both Moldova and Transnistria have severe economic problems, with nominal GDP per capita of around $2000 each.
  • The EU has a 100-person border assistance mission in the region, deployed in Moldova and Ukraine.
  • The EU is the largest trading partner of both Moldova and Transnistria.

The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. This paper, like all publications of the European Council on Foreign Relations, represents only the views of its authors.

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