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Russia May be Offered More Say in European Security

Russia could have more of a say in the EU's security and defense policy if progress is made in resolving disputes on the Soviet Union's old borders.

The EU is ready to offer Moscow the carrot of deeper security ties, in return for progress in thawing the frozen conflicts in Moldova and Georgia, diplomatic sources have told the EUObserver. The move could see Russia play a co-decision making role in EU crisis management operations, a significant step up in co-operation and one which Moscow has repeatedly called for. Although Russia has provided troops for previous EU missions, most notably in the Balkans, it has so far been given a minimal say in how such operations have been run. The offer could help break the decade-old deadlock in the breakaway Moldovan republic of Transdniestria. Diplomats hope that the offer could help the EU and Russia to work more closely in resolving the conflict and prompt Russia to withdraw its 2,500 troops from the area. Such a move, in turn, could pave the way for a European force - perhaps EU-led - to monitor Transdniestria’s border with the Ukraine or the area itself. Earlier this week, the Moldovan prime minister Vasile Tarlev told journalists in Brussels that he hoped the EU would play a decisive role in ending the conflict. Mr Tarlev urged the EU to consider a monitoring mission to strengthen the Moldova-Ukraine border, including the Transdniestrian section and said that the EU would play the most important role in a future peacekeeping force. A representative of the EU Irish Presidency said that he hoped that EU would place "a very high priority" on resolving the conflict. (EUObserver.com)

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