Info-Prim Neo News Agency is conducting an opinion poll on the settlement of the Transnistrian conflict among leaders of political parties, representatives of the civil society, and opinion shapers from both banks of the Nistru. The survey is aimed at finding out viewpoints that could contribute to the improvement of the present situation. All the participants were asked the same two questions. This time, the answers are given by Radu Gorincioi, doctor in political science, commentator on security issues. [- How can the dispute be solved in your opinion? In what way, through what mechanisms and during what terms is a settlement possible? ] - From the legal viewpoint, solving the Transnistrian conflict should be done by observing the Moldovan Constitution and the Law on the basic principles of the special legal status of the localities on the Nistru's left bank passed unanimously by the Chisinau Parliament on July 22, 2005. From the political and institutional viewpoints, Russia's initiative to reintegrate Transnistria will lead to even a more severe drop of the democratic standards, of the living standards, to political and social instability in the entire country, driving Moldova away from the EU. As long as the Moldovan democratic institutions are not sufficiently developed, on short term, the reintegration of the Eastern districts could trigger a real anti-democratic regress of the political regime. That is why I consider that the two banks of the river getting closer in the current form can lead to the “transnistriazation” of the Republic of Moldova. Here is what I mean: raising the role of the Tiraspol elite in determining the external and domestic policies, Moldova's return into the sphere of influence of the Russian Federation, officializing the Russian language, the crime rate will be up, the erosion of the democratic institutions and deviating from the European standards. In order to avoid this scenario, a viable settlement of the Transnistrian conflict should be sought for only in the context of democratizing and europeanizing entire Moldova. This means Chisinau should stick to the idea of observing the democratic standards and deepening the relationships with the EU as a prerequisite for the Transnistrian settlement. A quick solution imposed from abroad, without taking into account the real problems of the Transnistrian area, cannot be viable. As first steps in enhancing the credibility among parties, it is necessary to resume the negotiations in the 5+2 format, canceling the military posts within the Security Zone, the gradual reduction of ammunitions and local paramilitary forces and the Russian military in the area, accepting the political pluralism, independent media and NGOs. This has already been asked by the international organizations and the Moldovan civil society. Consequently, the reintegration of the breakaway area can happen gradually, with the involvement of the EU into the post-conflict settlement process, by democratizing and developing the institution of a state of law . [ - How do you think, how efficient and relevant to the created situation are the steps taken by the administration of Moldova at present? When do you think the effort made by the authorities will begin to produce results and what results can we expect? ] - The efforts made by the Moldovan authorities concerning the regulation of the legal status of the Eastern districts are welcome. Yet, as long as the Government fails to insure the observance of the democratic, European standards at least on the right bank, I cannot understand how the democratic values, the media's independence and the supremacy of law could be promoted in the Eastern district of Moldova? In this situation, there is a risk that the reintegration of the Eastern districts could trigger even more instability and democratic deviation as the Parliamentary elections get closer. This is not in the interest of political parties, nor of Moldovan citizens. Taking into account that there is a national consensus in Moldova as to the necessity of European integration, the Chisinau authorities this year should focus on carrying out the due reforms in concrete areas, signaled out by the European officials at the Cooperation Council of Moldova and the EU. In this case, there are chances that Chisinau gets, at the same time as Kiev, green light concerning the start of the talks for an associate agreement. The pause offered by the European Commission at the meeting with President Voronin should be construed this way. Otherwise, I'm afraid Moldova will not get even an associate agreement, neither will it ever manage to bring the Transnistrian area into the EU.