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A Force for Good? EU-Actorness and State-Building Dilemmata in Kosovo

Bernhard Stahl, Joint paper with Sebastian Harnisch

Southeastern Europe as a region is a cornerstone of the European Union's foreign policy which strives for ensuring peace and democracy on the continent. For ten years, the conflict over Kosovo figures most prominently in this endeavour. Yet, the EU's effort has been ambivalent at best and the results remain poor. To begin with, this is obvious regarding the Kosovo status question where the EU 'agreed to disagree' on the province's independence. Moreover, the EU failed to substantially improve Kosovo's economic and political situation. The Union intended to demonstrate its unity and ability to act responsibly when launching the EULEX mission. But the mission has been suffering from international wrangling with the UN, the Kosovo government and Serbia. By making use of Jupille's and Caporaso's actorness model, we argue that the EU's policy is a direct result of its fragmented actorness. We hold that the EU's ineffective and hesitant foreign policy vis-à-vis Kosovo can be attributed to internal incoherence. This incoherence is the result of the Union's foreign policy identity. Two 'dark spots' of the civilian power EU become apparent in Kosovo case: First, while EU-actors build up empirical statehood in Kosovo (i.e. Interim administration etc.), EU member states as group were unwilling to bear the consequence (of independence) of that state building process. Secondly, the EU's early and often far-reaching consensus on R2P norms, has led secessionist groups to jockey for the EU's (military) protection and antagonized other powers that question the Union's moral motives.

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