Draft National Security Strategy of Moldova

Draft National Security Strategy of Moldova

By A. Dunn

The issue of the advantages and disadvantages of the current model of national security, as well as the status of Moldova's permanent neutrality, is being brought back, the process of gradual abolition of which was launched with the advent of pro-European parties in 2009. At the same time, the behind-the-scenes and public struggles related to neutrality are actually reduced to the problem of cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance, which was confirmed by the recent decision of the Constitutional Court. At the same time, the situation around Moldova's neutral status may become part of a larger political combination.

The National Security Strategy, which was approved in 2011, still operates in Moldova. The project, revoked by the current president of Moldova, Igor Dodon, was developed in 2015-2016. Moldovan experts with the active participation of NATO experts. In March last year, the document was submitted to the parliament, but it was never considered. It contained six priorities: the rule of law and the citizens' confidence in state institutions, good governance, fighting corruption, transparency and effectiveness of decisions, the development of a sustainable economy and the development of the country's defense capability in the military sphere.

According to a number of experts, during the development of the last draft of the National Security Strategy in the presidency, they tried to form the ground for joining Moldova to the North Atlantic alliance. The constitutional norm that the Republic of Moldova is a neutral state was under threat. Although the Constitution and the overwhelming majority of the Moldovan population, according to polls, favor neutrality and independence, the draft Strategy-2016 fits into the trend of activating pro-NATO sentiments. Today Moldova closely cooperates with NATO within the framework of an individual partnership plan signed 10 years ago, which was updated in 2010 and envisages the expansion of cooperation and advising Moldovan military experts of the alliance. For its part, the republic renders support in NATO peacekeeping operations, sending its soldiers there. The Information Center of NATO operates in Chisinau, and Moldova also has a military agreement with a member of the North Atlantic Alliance - Romania.

As it follows from the draft Strategy-2016, Moldova planned to participate even more actively in global and regional military operations. Moreover, according to Article 11 of the Constitution, the Republic of Moldova is a neutral country and can not be a part of military blocs and alliances. In the presidency, it was felt that the project was in conflict with the interests of the country. And it was decided to withdraw it and develop a new strategic document. Most likely, the issue of the neutral status of Moldova will again become one of the most controversial, and the interested political forces will continue to play around this norm of the Constitution. As is known, attempts have been made through the Constitutional Court (CC) to nullify neutrality. Request for interpretation of art. 11 of the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova was sent to the Constitutional Court by deputies from the Liberal Party in May 2014. According to its authors, the Republic of Moldova must renounce the status of neutrality and join NATO, otherwise the country risks losing its independence and sovereignty

The liberals relied on the decision of the Constitutional Court, according to which the provisions of the Declaration of Independence are of greater legal force than the provisions of the Constitution. Recall that on the basis of this logic, the court came to the conclusion that the official language of the country is Romanian. As the liberals note, since the Declaration states that Transnistria is occupied by Russian troops, this position was also true at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, that is, the neutrality rule did not enter into force. This issue was on the agenda of the only body of constitutional jurisdiction in Moldova for three years. All this time, at various levels, there were suggestions that the verdict of the Constitutional Court would be directed against the neutral status of Moldova. Former President Timofti has repeatedly stated: "The introduction of the status of neutrality into the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova was a mistake that must be reconsidered." He drew attention to the existence of significant risks to the country's security, considering that the chance for Moldova is rapprochement with NATO. As a result, the Constitutional Court, whose verdict was published in June 2017, rejected the possibility of renouncing neutrality because of Russian peacekeepers in Transnistria. "The presence of foreign troops on the territory of the Republic of Moldova at the time of declaring neutrality and in the absence of international recognition and guarantee of this status does not affect the validity of constitutional provisions on neutrality," the decision of the Constitutional Court says. The Court notes that the presence in the territory of Moldova of a military contingent or military bases controlled by other states is unconstitutional.

As experts say, a delayed-action mine is laid in the decision of the CC. It also says: "In the event of a threat to fundamental constitutional values, such as independence, territorial integrity or state security, the Moldovan authorities must take all necessary measures, including military order, to protect them." That is, in fact, the Constitutional Court interpreted the Constitution in such a way that the authorities obtained the right to join various military structures if the country "is not in a position to confront itself with threats". In this situation, the country must adapt its defense and security policies to new circumstances. At the same time, the verdict of the Constitutional Court encourages close cooperation of Moldova with the North Atlantic alliance. Judges considered that the country's participation in the system of collective security, peacekeeping operations, collective sanctions against aggressors and violators of international law does not contradict the status of neutrality. In other words, the authorities have left a wide field for maneuvers, if they wish politically use the verdict of the Constitutional Court. The decision on the neutral status of Moldova can become part of a larger political combination.

And today the decision of the Constitutional Court of Moldova fits perfectly into NATO's position. Most experts agree that the verdict of the Constitutional Court will have important legal and political consequences. At the same time, the decision to develop a new National Security Strategy is linked, in particular, with the desire to strengthen the status of the country's permanent neutrality. Earlier, Kiev announced its intention to strengthen the border with Transnistria, explaining this by the fact that a threat emanates from there. As is known, the Operational Group of Russian Forces (OGRN) is deployed in Transnistria, and, apparently, this is regarded as a source of threat. It is obvious that Chisinau will not object to strengthening the border of Ukraine with Transnistria, since the Moldovan leadership has repeatedly demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops from its territory. Earlier Moldovan media informed Moldovan citizens that Moldova could use the funds of the US Fund for Reduction of Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia in the amount of $ 250 million. The Congress, the Moldovan news agency Interlik reported, called on the US President to demand from the authorities of the Russian Federation to withdraw his troops, in particular , From the Transnistrian region of Moldova.

It is worth recalling that the intention to withdraw Russian peacekeepers from Transnistria has long been spoken in Chisinau, proposing replacing the military contingent with international civilian observers under the auspices of the UN or the EU police mission.

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