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European Rule of Law Promotion in Weak States: Contemporary Reflections on the Role of EULEX in Kosovo

Lorena Pullumbi

Under the umbrella of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has launched several civilin missions and military operations with the objective of preserving stability and promoting democratic rule of law beyond its borders. Through an inductive approach, the paper presents the role of EULEX Kosovo- the EU's largest civilian rule of law mission- as a case which tests the European Union's structural strengths and weaknesses in promoting rule of law and democratic consolidation in weak sates. Despite almost a decade of the EULEX presence in Kosovo, the country lags behind in democratization levels, it is one of the main origin countries of asylum seekers from the Western Balkans in the EU and its Schengen visa liberalization process is far from being successful due to technical and political factors. The case of Kosovo demonstrates that a missing post-conflict political settlement, combined to a 'dual' mandate of the EU, endanger domestic institutional and behavioural change. The latter contributes to the creation of the conditions for delayed reform implementation particularly in rule of law related areas, raising concerns about contemporary humanitarian crisis response and management and the future of the Union's transformative power.

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