A Comparative Analysis of EU Engagement with Contested Statehood in Moldova and Georgia

Ana Maria Albulescu

The different expectations in Moldova and Georgia towards EU engagement with contested statehood have placed significant pressures on the evolution of the ENP. The ability of the EU to address the endurance of unsettled conflicts in its Eastern Neighbourhood both through its policies towards the metropolitan centres as well as its involvement in the conflict zones in the region has been put to the test at various times during the past decade. In this context, the focus of this paper is on the present and future challenges of the EU in Moldova specifically with regards to the consolidation of the central governments' institutional set-up towards addressing the issue of contested statehood. Firstly, the paper provides an overview of institutional evolutions in Moldova since the end of the violent phase of the Transnistrian conflict and then engages with the broader role of the EU in the settlement of the conflict. Finally, it analyses EU approaches towards institutional capacity development for conflict resolution from a comparative perspective by engaging with the post-Rose Revolution developments in Georgia, with the purpose of distinguishing the various strategies and instruments deployed by the EU. This paper highlights the difference between the EU's practical commitments towards addressing the issue of territorial integrity in the past in Georgia and its present involvement in Moldova. It argues that responding to current expectations for more assertive engagement in this context highlights a much broader challenge for the future related to the EU's normative approach towards contested statehood.

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