Policy Paper: Main trends in disinformation in the COVID-19 era. Study cases: the Republic of Moldova and Romania


This policy paper aims to identify the main topics of misinformation in the Republic of Moldova and Romania, which formed the basis of a broad campaign to manipulate public interests and promote political or economic interests. The research offers the opportunity to deepen thematic analysis at a later stage. Also, an important stage in the elaboration of this analysis is the identification of the main actors that promote fake news to obtain more benefits, which distort, modify or influence the behavior of the public opinion.

The document starts from the hypothesis that although most of the themes and topics for the disinformation campaigns promoted in the two neighboring states seem to intersect or coincide, there are also particularities that require different approaches.

Deepening the issues of misinformation and their subsequent analysis will not only help to identify trends in manipulating public opinion by promoting deliberately distorted messages by different actors but will offer a platform to identify solutions or recommendations to support internal resilience to external propaganda or of misinformation for political purposes.

Policy Paper PDF

Authors: Angela Grămadă, Cătălin-Gabriel Done

This policy paper is elaborated within the project ”Protecting democratic values by tackling pandemic-related disinformation”, implemented by the Center for Policy Studies, Armenia, in implemented in cooperation with the Experts for Security and Global Affairs Association, Romania, and the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Latvia, with the support of the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the Black Sea Trust or its partners.

For more information about the Project findings please visit CENTRE FOR POLICY STUDIES, Armenia, web page


Country Report: The Romania and Ukraine Bilateral Agenda


The bilateral dialogue between Romania and Ukraine is a complex one. This feature is generated by the multitude of different interests that the two neighboring states have established over time. Often, the definition of these interests has set the ground for complicated situations, difficult to be appreciated, accepted and solved by the political actors.

Between January – July 2019 the Association of Experts for Security and Global Affairs in partnership with the Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian PRISM”, supported by the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, a project of the German Marshall Fund, has implemented the project ”The Romanian – Ukrainian Civil Society Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation”. Within this project we had as a aim to revive the dialogue between Romanian and Ukrainian experts at civil society level, by resuming bilateral meetings in bilateral or trilateral format (extended to the Republic of Moldova), to advocate through government initiatives in solving problems, to propose a set of recommendations and solutions to encourage the transition to a new stage in the bilateral dialogue between Bucharest and Kyiv, in which the stereotypes no longer have control over the content.

In the following, we propose to reflect with us on the most important challenges, but also opportunities at the same time, for the bilateral dialogue between Kyiv and Bucharest from the Romanian perspective. The Ukrainian perspective on bilateral dialogue will be published soon.

Country Report: ”The Romania and Ukraine Bilateral Agenda. Perspectives for a Roadmap on Security and Defence Sector and Economic Cooperation”.

This country report is elaborated within the project ”The Romanian – Ukrainian Civil Society Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation”, implemented by Experts for Security and Global Affairs Association, Romania and it is supported by the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, a project of the German Marshall Fund. All the views and opinions belong to the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the ESGA Partners.


Project Paper EaPTTF2018: A New Security Agenda for EaP. The Regional Approach


The Experts for Security and Global Affairs Association, as leading organization in partnership with  the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE), the Georgian Institute for Strategic Studies (GISS) and New Europe Center (former Institute of World Policy (IWP)), organized between November 14 – 16, 2018 in Bucharest, Romania, the second edition of the Eastern Partnership Think Tank Forum dedicated to ”A New Security Agenda for EaP. The Regional Approach”.

The event is part of the project the project EaP Think Tank Forum 2018 – A New Security Agenda for EaP, The Regional Approach, implemented in cooperation with the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF), funded by the European Union from the EaP CSF re-Granting Scheme 2018.

The Bucharest edition of the Forum was held under the auspices of the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council and benefited from the support of the Central University Library ”Carol I”, the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and co-financed by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).

The overall aim of the project was to contribute to the strengthening of policy and advocacy capacities of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum think tank network – to propose a comprehensive vision over the EaP security agenda, in light of EaP 2020 Deliverables.

Prior to this year’s edition of the EaPTTF, a group of well-known experts have prepared a comprehensive policy paper of the EaP security sector that includes also a set of recommendations to feed in the debates on the implementation of the EU Global Security Strategy in the context of the EaP 2020 deliverables and agenda for the next term of the European Commission (2020-2024). The paper and the recommendations were discussed during the EaPTTF edition in Bucharest.

We would like to get into your attention the policy paper A new security agenda for the Eastern Partnership: Assessing the key security risks for the EU, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine”, which will be promoted to the EaP and EU governments during 2019.

The authors underline multiple perspectives for analyzing the security challenges of their home countries from both national, with emphasis on domestic problems, and regional challenges that are highlighting the external threats and vulnerabilities. All these challenges require a common, systemic approach in each of the three countries – Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine.

By including a chapter dedicated to Romania in this paper, the project implementation team wanted to argue that a member country of the European Union also needs resilient institutions and firm decisions from the authorities in this regard. Changes to which the region is currently undergoing requires a comprehensive, comparative and responsible analysis of new vulnerabilities and threats.

The recommendations proposed by the authors are also organized in two directions of action: national – for their own governments and international – for the European Union.

Project partners will continue to monitor public policies, will continue advocacy measures at national and international level, and will ask for consistency in security decision making.

We wish you a pleasant and useful reading, and we look forward to meeting you on the social media pages of our project partners to continue our collaboration and debate future joint initiatives.

The Policy Paper: ”A new security agenda for the Eastern Partnership: Assessing the key security risks for the EU, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine”

Photos of the Event: EaPTTF2018 Edition



Study: Association agreements between the EU and Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine

Source: Kamil Calus, Facebook

On August 30, 2018, our colleague, Kamil Całus, from the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) in Warsaw, presented in Bruxelles at the reunion of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) the briefing paper dedicated to the implementation of the Association Agreement and DCFTA between European Union and the Republic of Moldova, elaborated in cooperation with Dr Angela Gramada from the Security and Global Affairs Association (ESGA) in Bucharest, and Dr Piotr Oleksy from University of Poznań. The policy briefing was elaborated between March-May, 2018, before organizing and invalidating the election results for the Chisinau City Hall. The authors’ recommendations and conclusions did not refer to these events.

The analysis also includes a policy briefing of the implementation of the Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia, written by Dr Nona Mikhalidze from the Istituto Affari Internazionali, and a policy briefing of the implementation of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine was written by Dr Andriy Tyushka from the College of Europe (Natolin campus).

The full text of the study can be found here:

Association agreements between the EU and Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine. European Implementation Assessment

The presentations of the three reports can be found here:

 Committee on Foreign Affairs, European Parliament



“In August, 2017 the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) was requested to draw up three own-initiative reports on the implementation of the EU association agreements with Moldova (2017/2281(INI)), Georgia (2017/2282(INI)) and Ukraine (2017/2283(INI)). Petras Auštrevičius (ALDE, Lithuania) was appointed the rapporteur on Moldova. Andrejs Mamikins (S&D, Latvia) was appointed the rapporteur on Georgia. Michael Gahler (EPP, Germany) was appointed the rapporteur on Ukraine. This European Implementation Assessment (EIA) has been prepared to accompany the scrutiny work of the AFET committee and its implementation reports.”(Source: European Parliament Think Tank)


Policy paper: Presidential elections in Russian Federation: a competition without competitors


In the Russian Federation, electoral ballots are organized as a “celebration of democracy”. On March 18, 2018, the Russian Federation held presidential elections. Eight candidates met with the voters in front of the ballot boxes. Did they succeed or not to make a demonstration of the pluralism of the political opinion in Russia and how honest was the public debate? Have the necessary premises been provided for a fair and balanced fight between opponents? What were the candidates’ theses and projects presented properly? How did they define the future and how did they relate to the recent past? Identifying answers to these questions, which can easily be transformed into research assumptions, could offer those interested in policies promoted by Moscow some insights into the content of the future political decisions of the Kremlin. The objective of this study is to make a more analytical take-off in the content of electoral platforms, the strategies adopted by the candidates, and the platforms they were willing to assess the legitimacy of the “celebration” of democracy during an election in Russia in 2018.

This paper was realized by Dr. Angela Gramada within the project “Understanding the Eastern Neighborhood. A unique platform for comprehensive debates and analysis on Russian affairs” and it is part of the series of the follow-up events and analysis continuing the project implemented in 2017 by ESGA. Within this project, ESGA aims to engage the young generation of experts proactively in the efforts oriented on setting a new agenda for the dialogue with Russia and to encourage the participation in public debates.

Russian presidential elections PDF Version


Russian Federation after Crimea’s Annexation. Impossible to ignore and difficult to engage


Europe’s fundamental security principles and the values of liberal democracy come increasingly under the pressure of Russia’s subversive or aggressive behaviour. Crimea’s annexation and the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine are questioning the viability of the European integration project and the Euro-Atlantic peace and security architecture (especially in the Black sea area, Baltic States and Poland). Moreover, Russia’s support for anti-immigrant, populist and extremist parties in Europe has proved its efficiency in fragmenting the European Union. The pro-Brexit vote will deepen the division within the EU, which is about to lose London’s strong critical voice towards Moscow. Furthermore, Russia is attempting to restore its role as a leading world power. The ongoing war in Syria was skilfully used to reach this objective. Western states have directed their funds and intellectual efforts mainly to support the diplomatic and journalistic expertise on Arab and Asian political and security developments.  At the same time, the EU former communist members have focused their efforts on the process connected to EU accession negotiations and NATO membership.

As a consequence, most of the EU or NATO states lack the adequate expertise and knowledge for addressing Russia’s aggressive behavior and subversive actions. Nowadays the majority of EU states don’t have the relevant expertise and comprehensive knowledge to prepare the groundwork for a new agenda in their relations with Russia.

This collection of studies aims to explore the most important  political and security developments  in Russia after Crimea’s annexation. At the same time the our efforts are focused on  proposing  policy recommendations for authorities, media outlets and civil society from both EU countries  and Russia.

The Authors

Russia – collection of policy papers, version PDF version


Mihail Saakashvili: retragerea cetățeniei ucrainene și jocurile politice de la Kiev


La data de 26 iulie 2017 Serviciul de Stat de Migrație al Ucrainei a anunțat oficial retragerea cetățeniei ucrainene ”… petru încălcarea normelor constituționale lui Mihail Saakashvili, fost guvernator al regiunii Odessa. La momentul semnării decretului prezidențial de retragere a cetățeniei, Saakashvili nu se afla pe teritoriul Ucrainei, iar președintele țării, Petro Poroșenko, nu a oferit argumente pentru decizia luată. Mai târziu, Serviciul de Stat de Migrație al Ucrainei a explicat că Mihail Saakashvili ar fi încălcat art. 19 al Legii ”Despre cetățenia Ucrainei”, fiind bănuit de oferirea unor informații care nu corespundeau adevărului, dar și de prezentarea unor documente false la momentul depunerii cererii pentru dobândirea cetățeniei ucrainene. Ulterior, aceeași instituție a oferit detalii suplimentare, adăugând că decizia a fost luată în urma analizei rezultatelor evaluării Comisiei pentru probleme de cetățenie, de pe lângă președintele Ucrainei, și a votului luat în cadrul unei ședințe speciale. Saakashvili a declarat că va lupta împotriva acestei decizii, pe care, de altfel, o consideră ilegală. De asemenea, el a anunțat că nu va depune cerere de obținere a statului de refugiat sau azil politic și va reveni pe data de 10 septembrie 2017 în Ucraina pentru a-și apăra în instanța de judecată drepturile sale.

Mihail Saakashvili a obținut cetățenia ucraineană la data de 26 mai 2015, cu câteva zile înainte de a fi numit guvernator al regiunii Odessa, funcție în care s-a aflat până în luna noiembrie 2016. În luna decembrie 2015 autoritățile guvernamentale de la Tbilisi i-au retras cetățenia georgiană. Potrivit legislației Georgiei, orice cetățean care obține cetățenia altui stat, o pierde automat pe cea georgiană.

Continuare: Policy Paper PDF (2017)

Autor: Angela Grămadă


Moldova at a crossroads: The impact of emigration on the internal social and economic development

Moldova independence

In the post-Soviet period, Moldova has been deeply affected by the transition policies towards a market economy. In the beginning of the ’90, the number of jobs has decreased substantially due to the privatization of the state-own companies and the breakdown of the collective agricultural farms. The high rate of inflation and the low economic incomes were predominant across the rural and urban population. A first social phenomenon characteristic for that period was the gradual resettlement of the countryside middle-aged people to the urban areas and Eastern Europe. A second phenomenon was related to the emigration of educated social class from the cities to the Western Europe. These emigration trends, based on the type of community and educational background/professional skills, remained actual until nowadays and have an important impact over the internal social and economic development of this country.

When referring to the title of this paper, a few clarifications should be given for a proper understanding of the key terms. First, I measure the ‘impact’ in terms of social and economic consequences, therefore focusing over these specific policy areas. Second, I define ‘emigration’ as ‘the act of departing or exiting from one State with a view to settling in another’[1], using a comparison between the migration towards the Western region and the Eastern one. Nonetheless, the ‘development’ refers to the socio-economic growth or progress, assumed as the main objective of Moldova in the transition period.

In my attempt to develop a comprehensive argumentation over this topic, I will argue that the massive emigration from Moldova in the last 25 years had a negative leverage over the socio-economic development and has been addressed insufficiently by the governmental authorities. Through an overall analysis over the emigration trends, my aim is to establish the link between the migrants’ profile, regions where they emigrated and the average period of resettlement. Furthermore, this study will focus on the consequences of the emigration over the economic and social sectors, including the national GDP and the role of remittances for the annual budget. Another dimension of the paper will cover the public policies of the governments for decreasing the migration flows and the results of these measures on the short and medium period of time. In the end, I will propose a set of recommendations for combating the socio-economic problems related to emigration and establish a better communication between the public institutions and the diaspora.

[1], 20 April 2017.

Download Policy Paper PDF (2017)

Author: Mihai Mogîldea


Kazakhstan’s bilateral partnership with EU and Russia: between political dilemmas and economic interests


In 2007, the European Union launched a visionary strategy for the development of cooperation with Central Asian states. The document, called ‘The EU and Central Asia: Strategy for a New Partnership’ was aiming to enhance EU influence in the region through establishing a broader dialogue with the Central Asian states in areas such as institution-building, rule of law, trade, energy and security.

Ten years after its launching, EU’s bilateral relations with Central Asia republics have evolved on a different track, based on the government willingness to engage in a continuous reforming process under EU assistance. The most reliable EU partner in the region remains Kazakhstan, the only country which has signed an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the EU in December 2015 as recognition of an increased economic and energy interdependence between both parts.

Kazakhstan – EU bilateral relations have been developed in the context of a ‘multi-vectored’ Kazakh foreign policy. This concept defines Astana’s balanced approach towards its international partners, seeking to obtain large economic benefits and a stronger regional position in Central Asia. Its political and economic links with major powers were established by requesting a member status in the regional projects. Kazakhstan became in the last two decades a member of the Eurasian Economic Union and Shanghai Cooperation Organization, two institutional bodies led by Russia, respectively China. President Nazarbayev’s regime policy orientation often pendulates between the initiatives proposed by Russia, China and the EU, especially in the energy field, where Kazakhstan holds a leading position in the Caspian Sea zone. Therefore, the relations with the EU and Russia have been often the subject of a ‘supply and demand’ model, with Kazakhstan’s willingness to enhance links with these two partners in trade and energy sector and reluctance to implement reforms in the field of democracy, human rights and power decentralization.

Policy Paper PDF (2017)

Authors: Mihai Mogîldea, Angela Grămadă


Study: Civil Society and Foreign Policy

ESGA research study
ESGA research study


This study was prepared within ESGA’s project The role of Russian civil society in foreign policy decision making. A comparative analysis with Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. The paper was written by Ileana Racheru, Mihaela Pădureanu, Angela Grămadă. The study is based on more than 50 interviews conducted in March – April 2015.

This project was financially supported by The Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation – a project of the German Marshall Fund.

The authors of the study would like to express their gratitude to the diplomats, MPs, former high ranking officials, experts, and academics, civil society activists for their interviews, comments and valuable insights.

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