The coronavirus pandemic has revived demands for a human-centric approach to security. In Europe’s east, this means strengthening healthcare systems and building more resilient societies while managing threats such as geopolitical rivalries, conflicts in areas of limited statehood, and cyber warfare.
While several post-Soviet countries such as Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine now routinely hold free and fair elections, another democratic pillar—rule of law—has proved much more difficult to achieve.
A final political solution of the conflict over Transdniestria remains elusive and dependent on wider geopolitical trends. However, in contrast to other conflicts, it is peaceful.
On the tenth anniversary of the Eastern Partnership, dilemmas inherent in the policy design still remain unchanged.
The Eastern Partnership was designed to tie the Eastern neighbors to the EU, keep Russia out, and EU membership off the table. These objectives have been achieved—but the region has become neither more stable nor secure.
Moldova’s parliamentary election may deliver a messy coalition, a Socialist government, or an attempt at manipulation. Brussels should put the legitimacy of the process ahead of the result.
A mood of realism around the Transdniestria conflict, supported by Russia, is leading to areas of de facto integration. The Moldovan government is cautious, but this is an opportunity for more international engagement.
Europe’s commitment to the Eastern Partnership region has been cemented by Russian aggression. Yet, for internal reasons, the EU is trying to avoid the costs linked to the countries’ integration.
EU association deals with Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova have proven to be key drivers of reform in all three countries. The emphasis should now be on implementation, not simply legislative adoption.
Moldova, which used to be perceived as one of the most democratic post-Soviet countries, has come to be dominated by one politician.