A Panacea for All Ills? The European Rule of Law Promotion and the Role of EULEX in the State-Building Process in Kosovo

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Lorena Pullumbi, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, Italy

    This paper aims to identify, conceptualize and evaluate the internal-external dynamic of democratization with a focus on the EU democratic rule of law promotion applied in the case study of Kosovo. By promoting an enhanced coherence and cohesion of its external action, the European Union currently seeks to raise its profile as a global player in the world. Under the umbrella of the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has launched several civilian missions and military operations while ambitiously pooling considerable amounts of financial and human resources with the objective of preserving stability and promoting democratic rule of law beyond its borders. Through an agent-oriented approach, the paper attempts at presenting Kosovo’s state-building transition as a case which tests the European Union’s strategy of rule of law promotion abroad. Holding that new weak states are subject to variably dense external linkages and pressures which influence the domestic conditions for democracy, I pursue the argument that the establishment of the rule of law in Kosovo is currently undermined by the European top-down state-building process. The case of Kosovo demonstrates that a missing post-conflict political settlement, combined to a ‘dual’ mandate of the EU and executive correctional powers in broader rule of law fields endanger domestic institutional and behavioral change. The latter contributes to the creation of the conditions for delayed reform implementation in three strategic areas such as the judiciary, police and customs. Empirical evidence suggests signs of a collision between international and domestic actors in Kosovo which hinder rule implementation and rule adoption. In light of the above, the paper will bring evidence that instead of a ‘rule of law’ mission, the EULEX is perceived as a ‘law ruling’ mission vis-à-vis the local society. EULEX Kosovo indicates a test for the EU to assess its structural strengths and weaknesses in promoting rule of law and democratic consolidation while encouraging reflection on the future of the Union’s transformative power.