Assessing the Impact of the European Union in Kosovo Conflict Resolution : Building States and Societies upon Tabula Rasa?

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The international relations has been marked with the increased intra state ethnic conflicts which are able to cause huge humanitarian disasters and harbour instability and various threats for the international community. As a result, conflict resolution as a long term process combining social, economic and political levels and activities concerning structural change has been advocated in recent years. In that sense, the post Cold War era implies intensification in the attempts by the EU to become an actor in conflict resolution through various instruments. The rapid development of EU capabilities and convergence between member states at policy level are generally attributed to the external stimuli provided by the disaster in Kosovo. From the very beginning the EU has been continuously expanding its engagement in Kosovo; which, today, has reached to the status of the main actor on the ground. This situation sets forth the motivation for this study: given the extensive involvement of the EU in Kosovo, the question of its impact is shaped by many factors and still remains ambiguous. The main goal of the research is to inquire the policy impact of the EU in conflict resolution and the pattern which (re)shapes the impact given the comprehensive structures and capabilities employed by the EU. In that sense, the study conducts in-depth case study of Kosovo informed by comprehensive conflict resolution theory. Throughout the paper, the EU foreign policy and conflict resolution is put under constructivist lenses, i.e. structural foreign policy which acknowledges the co-existence of goal and norm-oriented foreign policy behavior. Kosovo represents the deepest level of involvement of the EU. However, a comparison with Macedonia is also conducted in order to highlight the importance of conditioning factors and EU engagement further. At the end, the paper discusses that the policy impact of the EU is shaped by dynamic relationship between conditioning factors, EU conflict resolution engagement across political capacity building, economic reconstruction and local capacities developed as an outcome of EU engagement.

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