: Establishing the Rule of Law in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Contribution of the EU Civilian Missions

Efstathios T. Fakiolas and Nikolaos Tzifakis


Peace seems to have taken roots in the Western Balkans. The European Union (EU) has spearheaded to stabilize the region through humanitarian and post-conflict assistance instruments, the most effective and enticing of which remains the award of integration. The EU still feels confident that it is the soft “power of attraction” of the membership perspective that primarily induces the region’s leadership to accept the adaptation costs of hard reforms and resolve outstanding disputes (Petrovic 2013; Fakiolas and Tzifakis 2008). But stability overall is far from complete, especially in Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), in which security challenges persist. Scarcely surprising, in the former the EU keeps deployed a Common Security and Defence Policy

E.T. Fakiolas (*)

Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of the Peloponnese, Corinth, Greece e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© The Author(s) 2017

Fish, Gill, Petrovic (eds.), A Quarter Century of Post-Communism Assessed, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-43437-7_8

(CSDP) civilian mission, the European Union Rule of Law mission (EULEX); while in the latter a respective mission, the European Union Police Mission (EUPM), closed down in 2012.

In this context, the chapter examines the efforts of EULEX and EUPM to push through state-building transition and democratization by restructuring and upholding constituents of the rule of law sector. By focusing on the scope of mandate, the resources reserved for the task, and the results achieved, it pursues to map out successes and deficiencies. The main finding of this track record investigation is that the more focused and specific the activities taken up by EULEX and EUPM have been on the ground, the more efficient and rewarding their contribution has been to advancing the rule of law and public order in Kosovo and BiH, respectively. Equally important, the two missions have proved able to smoothly work to the benefit of their operational objectives whenever they have both stayed tuned with local interests and streamlined their practices with other EU policies active in the area.

But before we proceed with the two case studies, two preliminary remarks are appropriate. First, the EU appears to understand the rule of law both as a condition and a principle in which ruling institutions and authority, individuals, state and society, public and private entities are all bound and accountable to law; which in turn is consistent with human rights and is enforced and adjudicated in the name of citizens. From this angle, the rule of law is taken to pertain to an “overarching concept” for CSDP civilian missions deployed in crisis and conflict-ridden situations to strengthen weak or failed authorities through monitoring, mentoring, and advising (MMA) operations or executive engagement functions in state building and ruling. The central objective is to develop a strong and effective judiciary, reinforce public order, and fight the organized crime and corruption (European Commission 2015a, pp. 12, 16, 18; Winkelhofer 2015, pp. 118-119; Opitz 2014, pp. 151-153). Second, the selection of the two CSDP civilian missions is not accidental. It concerns the two Balkan post-conflict countries in which the EU has devoted all these years more energy and resources than anywhere else. EUPM, on the one hand, marks the first and longest running EU civilian operation. As Javier Solana (2013, p. 3) put it, it is the EU’s first example of “learning by doing,” in that it “became the template for other missions.” And EULEX, on the other, represents the EU’s largest ever deployed civilian mission.

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