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Reframing the Legitimacy Problematique of Foreign Policy: EU Conflict Resolution in Crisis between International Law and Local Perceptions?

Bilge Yabanci

The paper attempts to explore legitimacy of EU conflict resolution by (re)locating it withinglobal governance system and the consent of local actors. First part argues legitimacy of theEU is currently based on self-proclaimed normative power where introvert claims todistinctiveness increasingly run the risk of Eurocentric/hegemonic practices and dismisscontext sensitivity for the local environment. In order to construct legitimacy of CR policies;the EU needs to rely on more than one-sided appreciation of its authority. As the EU engagesin renegotiation of social and political order through democratisation, minority rights, statebuildingand economic development, it increasingly displays state-like features in foreignterritories. As a part of the fledgling system of global governance, it is argued EU's legitimacyin CR should be based on three sources: international principles, functional efficiency, andconsent of the local addressees. Second part analyses legitimacy of the EU within the contextof two protracted conflicts: Kosovo and North Cyprus. Based on field interviews, local newsand documentary analysis, the paper takes variety and plurality of local stakeholders'perceptions into account, local political elite, civil society and public. It is argued selectiveapplication of international principles and performance failure to achieve its commitments onthe ground challenge legitimacy of EU's long-term CR policies on moral and performancegrounds. The EU is also deprived of the 'ecumenical value' of legitimacy as the local actorsare increasingly less inclined to consent the European agenda. Final part reflects on threeconsequences: first the lack of legitimacy has tarnished both the EU's public authority inconflict zones and local incentives to resolve conflict. Second, it casts doubts on theenlargement policy as a credible and effective tool for CR at the EU's doorstep.



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