Securitisation of the EU approach to the Western Balkans: from conflict transformation to crisis management.
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This chapter analyses the EU’s crisis response in the Western Balkans through the lens of EULEX. By exploring how those immediately responsible for mandate execution and those directly affected by its outcomes perceive EULEX, we discover gaps that highlight the pitfalls of direct and ingrained political interference in the mission’s work. While EULEX has been seen as an important watchdog for preventing further human rights abuses, the EU’s approach to Kosovo and the region continues to be characterised by competing priorities: the EU’s broader political objectives impact the mission’s legal work and hamper the EU in achieving a coherent and impactful rule of law policy. In turn, this decreases the local populations’ trust and approval of EULEX and ultimately undermines the EU’s overall goals of promoting good governance and a European perspective for Kosovo. This tension highlights the incompatibility of the EU’s short-term focus on crisis management and the more longterm focus on crisis transformation. We see this as particularly problematic for an actor whose self-image as a ‘normative power’, is underpinned by an assumption that its influence in the world in gained through ‘the power of ideas’.