Central Europe Activ

It had been a privilege of Russian politicians to destabilize Ukraine and Moldova. Romanian president Traian Basescu seems to be joining the club. Mr Basescu was quoted saying that should Ukraine annex some parts of Moldova, Romania should annex some parts of it, too. The Romanian leader also noted that Romania did not find it necessary to sign a border treaty with the Republic of Moldova.

Irregular shapes in different colors IINeither the 46-million strong Ukraine or the nor the 4-million strong Moldva have a long statehood or a long history of nationhood. Both countries became independent in 1991 and have brief historical ancestors as modern states. Moldva has a breakaway region, Transnistria, which is de facto occupied by Russian forces, and has been a hopeless and lawless part of Europe. Both countries are very poor compared to the European average, making them ideal targets for troublemakers. Nationalism easily leads to violence or civil war. A well-established territorial claim is not a sole, but usually necessary pre-requisite of warfare.

Big territory, big ambitionsMr. Basescu’s activity on this field is not entirely new. Diplomacy.ro, a Romanian diplomacy portal wrote on 15 February, that that meeting the outgoing Russian president, and besides signing a deal to build a Russian-sourced gas pipeline instead of Nabucco, “Basescu told Putin that Romania wants to get involved in the approach to the Trasndnestr conflict and proposed the expansion of negotiations format by the inclusion of Romania, which takes a direct interest in the issue from the viewpoint of national security. The negotiation format now comprises Russia, Ukraine, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Transdnestr and the Republic of Moldova.” What makes this policy odd is that Mr. Basescu hosted the NATO summit less than two month later. (That was the NATO summit when another nationalist flurry sank tiny Macedonias accession and the plan to make the Western Balkans allied to Europe). Mr Basescu has an alternative to European foreign policy in Kosovo and Serbia, too.

Drawing maps may be a half-innocent play of nationalists. When heads of state start this game backed by NATO and EU membership against fragile but big states, be scared, be very scared. Ukraine is too big to fail. I guess it’s time to raise standards of discipline in the club.

Update: Diplomacy.ro reference corrected – thanks, Kosmopolit!

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  1. I would not take Basescu too seriously on this matter. He he has been trying to play a bigger role in the whole Transnistrian settlement since he came to power. However, nothing ever really happened. At some point the EU made it very clear that Romania as a EU member can only be involved as part of the official 5+2 negotiations (+ 2 = EU and USA) because it would be counterproductive for the settlement if Romania was involved (which is true if you look at the statements of Basescu…).Anyway the international negotiations are suspended at the moment.

    Of course Basescu is quite outspoken on diplomatic issues which makes it hard to judge the whole situation. It is true that he has his own foreign policy ideas, especially when it comes to regional issues (Kosovo, Serbia..). I often think that is actually a sign that Romanian’s foreign policy is strategically very weak and decisions are often taken rather “spontaneously”…

    (just for the record: diplomacy.ro is a Romanian portal)

  2. Hello,

    Mr. Antal, please check again the first
    link with the Basescu quote and you will
    see that there is no “Romania should
    annex” there. You didn’t understand
    the discussion, or you did this with
    I would also ask the other commenter:
    why are Russia or Ukraine involved
    in Moldova? I can see that Russia has
    occupation troops far away from their
    mother land, but this isn’t something

  3. Dear Kosmopolit,

    My apologies, the first link comes from .ru and the second from .ro, my mistake, diplomacy.ro is indeed Romanian!

    Regarding your note, I think this is what I tried to put in a sharp way: I think an EU and NATO member head of state should be a bit more… diplomatic? On the substantive part of the case I find Mr Basescus Kosovo and Moldva policy a bit contraproductive. I think that Romania as a state legitimately goes after the Romanian national interest, but if it goes against the European interest, it will both weaken the Romanian national and the European common interest. I do not think that there is a real possibility to solve the problem quickly in Moldva, but I also do not think that it is good that the current borderline of NATO and EU is a bit blurred in Mr. Basescu’s speech. Regarding Kosovo I think it is the worst case scenario that Serbia puts an ethnic conflict in the freezer for decades and Romanian foreign policy seems to help this.

    Mr RazvanM: I certainly wanted to write more sharply and to take out the meaning of a diplomatic text. If you read my text carefully, I am indeed very critical to the Russian involvment in Moldva. But am I indeed wrong to assume that the real meaning of Mr. Basescu’s sentences is a territorial claim?

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