Security and Integration Issues in the Relations between the European Union and the Western Balkans

  • Abstract:

    This study is part of a doctoral research that is being conducted in the Postgraduate Program in Political Science at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. It focuses on the relationship between the European Union (EU) and the Western Balkans States (WBS) – the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, plus Kosovo and Albania – in the period 2000-2013. The main idea of the research is to investigate the nature of the EU-WBS relations in terms of security, which is attached to the discussion of issues like enlargement, security dynamic in the WB and the role of EU in the global order. This paper, therefore, aims to build a state of art about the question if the EU’s enlargement towards the Western Balkans may be seen as an example of the EU’s normative power with hegemonic content. This study does not ignore that there is major advantages of replacing the normative power concept by the concept of hegemony. Indeed the very meaning of the normative concept implies some hegemonic extent. However, we are using this approach and these concepts to reinforce the role the respect to norms and the fulfilment of commitments have in the EU-WBS relations. The methodology is basically qualitative and involves the development of theoretical tools to indicate the existence of hegemonic content in the EU-WBS relations. Hopefully, using this methodology, we are able to determine future steps about the prospects for both the future of EU enlargement as for the WB states themselves, and to evaluate to what extent there are advantages and disadvantages in this process for both parties.