In lieu of Conclusions
This chapter examined the effort of the EU to improve the rule of law in Kosovo and BiH through the deployment of CSDP civilian missions. The presentation in parallel of the features and the work of EUPM and EULEX allows us to reach some comparative conclusions.
With respect to their mandate, both missions were directed to MMA the corresponding local authorities in order to improve the professionalism and efficiency of those countries’ rule of law institutions. The latter were expected to become emancipated from political interference and grow capabilities to preserve public order and fight organized crime and corruption in their respective countries. Nevertheless, beyond sharing a very general set of common objectives, those missions’ mandates featured important differences as well. In particular, unlike EULEX, EUPM was initially designated to narrowly focus on reforming the police rather than all rule of law institutions in BiH. Still, contrary to EULEX (whose very deployment was controversial), the mandate of EUPM has been subsequently adjusted to changing conditions on the ground and, thus, the CSDP mission in BiH has over time assumed tasks that were not related to policing such as assisting the reform of the criminal justice system. Another important difference is that, in sharp contrast to EUPM, EULEX has been also vested with certain executive powers to initiate, where necessary, action on its own. Specifically, EULEX police has intervened to restore order and make arrests; EULEX prosecutors have conducted hundreds of crime investigations; EULEX judges have adjudicated thousands of cases in court; and EULEX custom officers have collected duties on the borders with Serbia.
In terms of material resources, both CSDP missions have benefited from generous and adequate financing as well as the supply of all necessary equipment and logistical support to carry out their work. However, the personnel of both missions has been deficient in experienced and highly qualified experts who could mentor the local authorities on institutional reforms aiming at the increase of operational capacity and efficiency. As earlier illustrated, whereas EULEX never reached full strength with a large number of vacancies being disproportionally evident in the justice sector, the transition of EUPM from a predominantly police to a fully fledged rule of law mission was not followed by a substantial increase in the number of its civilian officers. Moreover, both missions have at times suffered from a lack of coherence with different national contingents and individual officers applying dissimilar norms and practices in their work. But in terms of overall resources, EUPM appeared to have been much smaller and less ambitious. A striking measure of this difference, as already demonstrated, is the fact that EUPM’s allocated budget and active staff accounted for about one-ninth and one-third of EULEX’s so far, respectively.
The track record of EUPM and EULEX has also featured similar accomplishments and failures. In principle, both missions have successfully transferred much-needed expertise and technical assistance to local authorities in BiH and Kosovo to strengthen the rule of law. In particular, the police forces in both countries have adopted new administrative and operational procedures, methods of work, and best practices in line with European standards. Indeed, both polices have become more efficient in the management of routine day-to-day operations (e.g., petty crimes and instances of small-scale disorder). Moreover, the CSDP missions have assisted local authorities in BiH and Kosovo to establish new rule of law institutions (e.g., for the fight against serious crime and the management of borders) and draft essential pieces of legislation.
Nevertheless, on a more negative note, the ability of the Bosnian and Kosovar institutions to deal with serious crimes has not been substantially improved. As it was elaborated, in both countries, newly established and reformed rule of law institutions have not efficiently coordinated their work. In addition, adopted laws have not been consistently implemented. To illustrate, while both countries reformed their recruitment and career advancement procedures, they have not ceased following nontransparent promotion procedures in disregard of the newly established professional and education criteria (Avdiu and Perteshi 2015, p. 15; Kovacevic and Visca 2015, p. 13). In addition, the political authorities in both countries have not been eager to take the necessary steps to fight organized crime and corruption. Likewise, the progress for the adoption of reforms that touched upon issues of ethnic discord in these two countries such as the police restructuring in BiH and the institution building in North Kosovo has been very poor. Indeed, what these failures demonstrate is that the success of MMA activities depends heavily on the consent of the local authorities to EU-prescribed reforms. And, whereas both CSDP missions have been bestowed with international legitimacy, they have neglected to build their downward legitimacy in BiH and Kosovo, in the sense of seeking for the consent and/or support of local stakeholders to their policies (Yabanci 2016, p. 350). In this context, if the local authorities have not been willing to change their countries, EUPM and EULEX could do little more than expected that the EU would mount external pressure on the former through the coordination of its instruments and the introduction of policies of conditionality. Therefore, the EU civilian missions neither can be held responsible for the interest oflocal leaderships in meddling in the operation of rule of law institutions. Nor can the CSDP missions be criticized for the lack of commitment of the local authorities to the fight against serious crime. And, certainly, it has been beyond the scope of those missions’ mandate to resolve the ethnic disputes that have impeded the centralization of BiH police structures and the establishment of rule of law institutions in North Kosovo.
To conclude, all other things being equal, the more the work of the two missions has been technical and did not impinge upon the interests of local authorities, the greater have been the chances that it would be successful. Alternatively, the greater the coordination of EU means and instruments in these two countries (e.g.. the linkage of the EU-facilitated
Belgrade-Pristina dialogue with the policy of enlargement and the work of EULEX), the larger have been the possibilities that CSDP objectives would be advanced on the ground.
Acknowledgments The authors would like to acknowledge that research for this chapter was conducted with the support of a grant (Pelopas) provided by the Research Committee of the University of the Peloponnese. The authors would also like to thank the book editors for their comments and suggestions.