“The visit by Baroness Catherine Ashton will have a positive impact on the three main objectives of the official Chisinau, namely the negotiation of the Association Agreement, liberalization of the visa regime, and creation of a deep and comprehensive free trade area with the EU,” executive director of the Foreign Policy Association Victor Chirila said in a meeting of the press club centering on the effects of the visits paid by high-ranking foreign officials to Chisinau.
Speaking about the Transnistrian dispute, the expert said that the talks between Chisinau and Brussels on the future political and legal framework with the EU overshadow the conflict settlement process to a certain extent. Victor Chirila said that new initiatives that would maximally involve the EU in the settlement process should follow Catherine Ashton's visit to Chisinau, which is encouraging for the Moldovans.
“The European Union is ready to yearly allocate 15% of the financial assistance it will provide to Moldova the next few years to the Transnistrian region. However, the contribution of this assistance to building confidence between the banks of the Nistru River will depend on the offer that might be formulated by Chisinau and Brussels. This offer should set out the objectives and areas that will be supported, the major principles that should be respected and the assistance provision and monitoring mechanisms,” Victor Chirila said.
He also said that the formulation of a compact offer to the value of tens of million euros by the EU will have an incontestable psychological impact on the population and the elites of the region.
According to Victor Chirila, currently this assistance does not have a significant impact on the Transnistrian region and does not considerably contribute to building confidence between Chisinau and Tiraspol. The EU's assistance has even a lesser impact on the observance by the Transnistrian administration of elementary democratic norms. The expert gave as example the conviction of Vardanyan and Cazac.
The executive director of the Foreign Policy Association said there are two essential causes for such a situation – the lack of a well-through-out policy as regards the provision of support by the EU, and the imbalance between the necessity of involving Transnistrian decision makers in negotiations and the universal imperative for them to observe the fundamental democratic norms.
“The Moldovan authorities should work out a common offer for assisting the Transnistrian region together with Brussels, which would clearly specify the objectives and areas that will be supported and the main principles that should be respected,” Victor Chirila said.