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Constructing Legitimacy for EU Conflict Resolution: From Spectacularised-Self to the Local Audience

Bilge Yabancı
University of Bath
Bilge Yabancı
University of Bath
Open Panel

Abstract

Internationalisation of governance has intensified ‘legitimacy talk’ beyond domestic sphere. The EU, however, remains sterilised from a systematised assessment of its international legitimacy. The literature persistently relies on inward-looking appreciation of normative power ergo implicit legitimacy, although the scope of Union’s conflict resolution policies directly shapes internal governance and external relations of local parties.This paper aims to present the EU’s legitimacy problematique from an alternative point of view, namely through taking the concept back to its basics as the ‘appeal to the ultimate grounds’. Addressing a substantial area of foreign policy from the actual addressees’ view does not only enable a realistic assessment of the EU’s self-congratulating (normative/legitimate) foreign policy but would also bring (democratic) input from relevant audience and strengthen compliance with EU policies in conflict regions. In this sense, the EU’s international legitimacy becomes an inter-subjectively (de)constructed phenomenon between various groups of local audience and the EU through legitimacy-related communication.The paper deals with the questions ‘how are legitimacy related ‘agent-justifiability’ and policy choice questions addressed by the Union?’‘Why and how are these claims challenged or consented by the addressed audience?’In this sense, various legitimacy-related frames of reference present in Kosovo and TRNC public spheres and elite discourses regarding EU policies are analysed and compared as embedded in local media, civil society and policy documents. Legitimacy question has so far been indirectly addressed by the EU through oscillation between reappraisal and reinstatement of international law and principles, and further Europeanisation/ integration talk; and sends mixed signals to conflict parties.