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The EU in Kosovo: Conflict Prevention through Conditionality or Europeanisation through Crisis Management?

Dimitris Papadimitriou
University of Manchester
Dimitris Papadimitriou
University of Manchester
Petar Petrov
Maastricht Universiteit
Open Panel

Abstract

Two years after the start of the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, its legitimacy and strength on the ground remains the source of considerable controversy. This is despite some of its proclaimed achievements/successes such as: the full deployment of the mission in the entire territory of Kosovo; the unanimous support for the mission by all 27 EU member states and the well established link between EULEX and Kosovo''s prospect of accession into the EU. However, there are a number of challenges to the ability of the EU to ''export Europeanisation'' and act as a strong security actor in the context of the EULEX mission. These challenges range from the EU''s mixed messages on the issue of Kosovo''s recognition; the dual discourse implied by the EULEX mission – presented in the North as ''acting under the status neutral framework of the UN'', while seen in the South as ''de-facto implementing the Ahtisaari Plan''; the high levels of distrust among the local population towards the mission as well as the incoherent application of pre-accession conditionality and crisis-management instruments. This paper examines the EU''s internal divisions over policy and implementation and elaborates –both conceptually and empirically - on the ability of the EU to develop coherent ''actorness'' as well as on the limitations of conditionality-led Europeanisation in Kosovo.