European Foreign Policy. Legal and Political Perspectives pages:172-203
The analysis in this chapter on the European Union's foreign policy in and on Kosovo adopts a political perspective from the viewpoint of the specific Kosovan context. The focus is not on the relevant EU institutions and decision-making processed in Brussels, but on the EU actors in Kosovo and on the policy implementation and policy output on the ground. It not only illuminates the EU's policy in Kosovo from and EU perspective (that is, to what extent does this policy achieve the objectives that were determined), but also analyses and assesses the EU's policy from a Kosovan perspective. in this context, it is important to ask questions that would shed light on the EU's policy within the specific Kosovan context, while examining the extent to which the EU takes this context into account, or mainly follows its own Brussels agenda.
The specificity of the Kosovan context being the departure point of this chapter, the following section provides a short historical background in order to point to the dilemmas and challenges with which the EU is confronted in this context, while the third section deals with the current legal, political and socio-economic aspects of this context. The latter is not only useful to further illuminate the policy challenges and dilemmas, but is also necessary to bring to the fore the broader policy agenda from a Kosovan point of view and to provide criteria against which to evaluate the EU's actions on and in Kosovo.
The fourth and longest section in the chapter assesses the policy implemented by the three main EU actors present in Kosovo but that are functioning rather separately from each other: the EU Special Representative (EUSR), whose activities are to a large extent curtailed due to the division among the EU member states on Kosovo's international legal status; the role of law mission EULEX Kosovo, which is the largest ever civilian European Security and Defence policy (ESDP) operation and which is involved in institution-building with regard to police, justice and customs; and the European Commission Liaison Office (ECLO), which is the EU's permanent representation to Kosovo, in charge of guiding institutional reforms in the framework of the Stabilisation-Association process and for deploying EC assistance mechanisms within the enlargement policy, and as such, also oversees numerous other agencies and actors involved in implementing the EU's enlargement policy in Kosovo. This section particularly assesses both the commitments as presented by the EU itself in its external communication and the underlying paradigms and paradoxes: the 'political commitment' with regard to the EUSR, the 'operational commitment' with regard to EULEX Kosovo, and the 'reform-driven commitment' with regard to ECLO.