In contrast to Southeast Europe, the EU avoids comprehensive engagement in the protracted conflicts of the Eastern neighbourhood and largely limits its role to facilitation. However, at the latest since the conclusion of the Association Agreement with three countries of the Eastern neighbourhood in 2014, the EU has advanced to a leading governance provider. The paper, at hand, addresses the question of how EU governance, in certain policy areas of Moldovan politics, affects the EUs conflict management capabilities. To do so, it elaborates four dimensions (bargaining power, political management, domestic structures and geopolitical context) on which conflict management capabilities are dependent. The paper argues that the ENP Action Plan and the association agenda have gradually increased bargaining power vis-à-vis Chisinau and, more important, the Transnistrian authorities. Consequently, the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) on the territory of Moldova (including Transnistria) starting from January 2016 exemplifies how governance by externalization impacts domestic structures in Transnistria. However, whether this translates into conflict settlement remains ambiguous. While EU governance contributed to the enhancement of conflict management capabilities, substantial issues related to the legal status of the breakaway region remained untouched. Instead of being seen as a legitimate and unbiased conflict manager, the findings of the paper support the notion that the EUs engagement contributes to enforcement rather than mitigation of conflict cleavages.