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The EU Special Representative for Moldova post-Treaty of Lisbon. An outlook on the implications of a changing mandate

Open Panel

Abstract

This paper proposal looks into the prospective role and statute of the Special Representative of the European Union for the Republic of Moldova since the Treaty of Lisbon placed this instrument under the authority of the High Representative of the Union. Drawing on the assumption that the talks between the High Representative and the Council might lead to the decision of not renewing the SR’s mandate after its expiry in February 2011, the paper puts forward some concerns. Since 2005, the EU’s Special Representative played a major role in providing the EU with face and clout in pursuing the goals of the European Neighborhood Policy in Moldova and much of his activity was focused on trying to mediate a thawing of the Transnistrian conflict. Is the EU to relinquish a key human link to the authorities, civil society and international players on the ground, one may genuinely ask whether it is backing down on its commitment to support the multilateral efforts for “a viable and sustainable settlement” to this conflict. The scenario of appointing a special envoy for regional matters could be hazardous for Moldova in these critical times of its pro-democracy political orientation due to both practical and strategic reasons: the SR position requires a full-time job and extensive responsibilities for enhancing the EU dialogue with all stakeholders in the separatist conflict; in retrospect, the EU is failing to acknowledge the need to devise differentiated policy tools tailored according to the conflict dynamics and reforms pace in each country.