Governo dell’Unione Europea e Politica Internazionale

Università degli Studi di Catania
Facoltà di Scienze Politiche
Corso di Laurea Specialistica in
Governo dell’Unione Europea e Politica Internazionale
XXXXXX XXXX 29-06-2009
“The EU as a Civilian Power within its neighbor countries: the
case of Balkans”

Professore: XXX XXXXX

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Insegnamento: CFSP and ESDP
Abstract page 3
1. EU as a civilian power 3
1.1 Introduction and theoretical
framework 3
1.2 A comprehensive security concept
in a civilian power Europe
2. Civilian power Europe in the
Western Balkan region
2.1 The outbreak of the Balkan war
and EU’s reaction
2.2 The Post-Conflict Balkans and its
security profile: the Association and
Stabilization Process (SAP) and the
Stability Pact
2.3 The EU’s adoption of civilian
means and civilian ends in the Balkan
3. Critical reflections 13
Bibliography 15
In this analysis it is proposed an assessment about the external role of the EU as a civilian power. In
the first part of this study there is a comparison between the different conceptions of EU’s
international role and a description of the tools, which demonstrates how EU acts as a civilian power.
The importance of a comprehensive security strategy will also be stressed. In the second part, instead,
the concept of civilian power will be analyzed through the lenses of the Balkan issue, specifically at the
beginning of the conflict and ,than, after the dismantling of the region , to demonstrate how EU has
evolved in its civilian approach in relation to this area. Finally, through some critical reflections, it
will be argued that, with the offering of the membership to Balkans countries, all the institutional
reforms and democracy promotion are implemented by this newly independent states.
1. EU as a civilian power
1.1 Introduction and theoretical framework
Concerning European Union‘s role in world politics, it could be asserted that nowadays it acts as a
global actor. The main areas in which EU is more influent are probably in trade, development
cooperation, the promotion of regional integration, democracy and good governance, human rights
and to an increasing extent also in security policies (Hettne and Söderbaum, 2005:535). This
influence, anyway, is perceived quite everywhere in the world, even if in some sectors and regions
EU’s force is more incisive than in others. But there is no clear connotation about this action: EU’s
external action is the result of a different interests combination, from a distinctly European idealism
to traditional national interest policies hidden behind rhetoric. As many authors have suggested, the
power exercised by EU is based on economic interests, dialogue and diplomacy, that’s why its
power has always been depicted as “soft” rather than hard. For Duchêne: “Europe as a whole could
well become the first example in history of a major centre of the balance of power becoming in the
era of its decline not a colonized victim but an exemplar of a new stage in political civilization. The
European Community in particular would have a chance to demonstrate the influence which can be
wielded by a large political co-operative formed to exert essentially civilian forms of power”
(Duchêne in Kohnstamm & Hager (eds.) s.19). In its relations to neighboring countries the EU acts
as a “gentle” power, with an unimpressive performance in norm exporting and democracy
promotion. However, the definitions of EU’s action in its external relations are various and it is very
difficult to find a clear definition. For instance, some authors refers to EU as a “civilian power.”
The first scholar to use this term was Duchêne (1972, 1973), and his theory about EU external
action was conceived as “the ability to extend its own model of ensuring stability and security
through economic and political rather than military means.” For Hanns Maull, being a civilian
power implies:
1. The acceptance of the necessity of cooperation with other in pursuit of international
2. The concentration on non-military, primarily economic, means to secure national goals, with
military power left as a residual instrument serving essentially to safeguard other means of
international action; and
3. A willingness to develop supranational structures to address critical issues of international
management (Maull, 1990:93)
In summary, the “civilian ends” identified by Duchêne and Maull are, therefore, international
cooperation, solidarity, domestication of international relations, responsibility of the global
environment, and the diffusion of equality, justice and tolerance. These are “milieu goals” rather
than “possession goals”, to use Wolfers’ distinction: the first aim to shape the environment in which
the state, or in this case the EU, operates, while the second achieve national interests. Another
method, strictly related to the previous, is the one of “soft power”, developed by Joseph Nye. For
this author it is necessary to co-opt rather than coerce people. Nye, in fact, asserts: “ A country may
obtain the outcomes it wants in world politics because other countries – admiring its values,
emulating its example, aspiring to its level of prosperity – want to follow it.” (Nye, 2004:5)
It is essentially the power of attraction, and Nye explicitly differentiates this form of coercion or
inducement, which he calls command power. Another influent approach on EU’s external action is
postulated by Manners. He is, in fact, the father of the concept of “normative power Europe”.
Using Rosecrance words: “Europe’s attainment is normative rather than empirical…..It is perhaps
a paradox to note that the continent which once ruled the world through the physical imposition of
imperialism is now coming to set world standards in normative terms” (Rosecrance, 1998:22). The
idea of normative power Europe has been analysed also by Carr and Galtung. For the first scholar
normative power means “power over opinion”, while civilian power is represented from an
economic point of view (Carr, 1962:108). Galtung, instead, considers the concept of normative
power as the power of ideas, while military power consists of punitive instruments and civilian
power has a remunerative means. Manners, on the other hand, is critical with these two different
points of view, because he says “the notions of civilian and military power are an unhealthy
concentration on how much a state the EU looks like”(Manners, 2000). EU’s role in international
politics has to be seen, in the words of Manners, as one of “normalization”, and attention has to be
concentrated on EU’s ability to shape conceptions of “normal” in international relations. Finally, for
Manners, the conceptions of civilian and military power concentrate only on the “capabilities”. The
EU, instead, shares and spreads “common values” trying to overcome the Westphalian concept of
power balance. EU’s exceptionalism, in the opinion of Manner, is due to “a combination of
historical context, hybrid polity and legal constitution” that changed EU in an international
promoter of values, norms and principles (Manners, 2002:240). Accelerating in this way EU’s
commitment in placing norms, values and principles at the centre of its relations with its Member
States (Merlingen, 2001) and the world (Smith, 2001).
On the other hand, some authors emphasize the role of force in international relations, and, referring
in particular to EU, they affirm: “even with the use of force, it is still possible to use the phrase
“civilian power” (Stavridis, 2001:46). This approach recalls the opposite ideal-type of “civilian
power”, that’s to say “military power”: an actor which uses military means, relies on coercion to
influence other actors, unilaterally pursues ”military or militarized ends”, and whose foreign policymaking is not democratic. Since the defeat of the European Defence Community by the French
national assembly in 1954, the question of EU assuming a military dimension had remained a taboo
until the agreeing of the Treaty on the European Union (TUE) in 1991. As Whitman has suggested:
“the TUE had signalled the intent of the Member States of the Union to move beyond a civilian
power Europe and to develop a defence dimension to the international identity of the Union”
(Whitman, 1998;135-136). The hope was the shifting from the single structure of the EC to the
three-pillar structure of the EU, and than the changing from civilian to military power. This new
context would be confirmed only with the pre-condition of assuming that the development of a
common foreign security policy would include a defence policy.1
The trend towards military power Europe is now to be found in the Common European security and
defence policy (ESDP) agreed in June 1999, which equips EU to have 60.000 person Rapid
Reaction Force (RRF), starting from the end of 2003. This trend, finally, culminates with the
Petersburg tasks.
The role of EU in international relations, anyway, still remains unclear. Since some commentators
still regard the EU as a civilian power despite growing acquirements of military tools one must
assume that there are a plenty of versions of how to define the concepts civilian and military power.
It is necessary to find out a common denominator amongst the different discourses. This common
denominator is expressed by an analytical tool, able to measure EU’s foreign operations. In
particular, the examples useful for this analysis concern the Balkans war, related to the beginning of
EU’s foreign security policy, and to the ongoing process of enlargement, which includes the

1 The years of expectations of foreign policy and military power were considered as: “a capability-expectation gap”
(Hill,1993) or an “eternal fantasy” ( Sjursen, 1998).
Balkans states. The goal of this analysis will deal with the attempt to demonstrate how the civilian
power Europe has been effective in the management of the Balkans issue, since its beginning, with
the Balkans war, to nowadays, in comparison with all the new states born after this conflict and the
fragility they show.
1.2 A comprehensive security concept in a civilian power Europe
The High Representative for CFSP, Javier Solana, has stated in its Strategy Paper that “ a ring of
well-governed countries” must be established, “with whom we can enjoy close and cooperative
In this words, Solana points out that, even if the security issues arising in the vicinity of
the EU are global phenomena, their potential effects in the EU are greater because of the geographic
proximity. The ENP represents the main instrument for the achievement of goals, such as: the
prevention of conflicts in EU’s neighbourhood, settling of disputes, establishing close economic
and political partnerships based on shared values, prosperity and security, controlling migration and
illegal trafficking. Concerning the notion of comprehensive security strategy, the main raison d’être
of this approach consists in the “recognition that there are various dimensions of security in the
current international environment and therefore that the underlying causes of potential threats to
the security of the EU are very diverse in terms of both nature and origins.” (Biscop, 2004:32). A
comprehensive security strategy, in fact, operates through dialogue, cooperation, partnership and
institutionalized, rule-based multilateralism. There is also a deep involvement of third states and
organizations, which are regarded as partners of the cooperation process: the aim is to influence
rather than coerce, to use the carrot rather than the stick. This formulation of the comprehensive
security concept is strictly linked to the notion of EU as a civilian power. Some scholars argue this
connection (Smith, 2000:23). The logic embedded in this strategy deals with the question about
when, and under what circumstances, force can be used, and it doesn’t regards if force can be used
or not. Military power, as one of the civilian power Europe concept creator Maull analysed, is just a
“residual instrument” (Maull, 1990:93). The most prominent factor is that, since EU is becoming
always more militarized, it remains a non traditional power, but a power which is unique, because it
will be able to use military means as an integrated part of a much broader range of political,
economic and diplomatic means. Stavridis , in fact, is of the opinion that, even with military means,
EU behaves as a civilian power. Finally, this comprehensive security strategy, deals with: an
integration of policy fields, that’s to say that, avoiding to concentrate on a specific aspect in a

J.Solana, A Secure Europe in a Better World, pag. 7;
certain way, this strategy offer the possibility of integrating all fields of EU external action, this
process in relation to policy objectives; in relation to third states and international organizations,
there is an inclusion process, which allow them to be subject and not object of the EU policy,
through multilateral cooperation and partnership.
Comprehensive security, in summary, “translates the principles on which the EU itself is founded –
liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law – into
the principles underlying the EU external action” (Biscop, 2004:36).
In relation to the Western Balkans3
, Solana asserts: “ Following the failures of the nineties, the EU,
over the past years, has considerably strengthened its engagement in the still fragile Western
Balkans. It has helped to stabilise the situation in Southern Serbia and FYROM and facilitated the
constitutional arrangements between Serbia and Montenegro. The EU took over the police mission
in Bosnia and Herzegovina from the UN and the military operation in FYROM with NATO. With
the Stabilisation and Association process the EU has created an effective framework for reforms
and for progress towards Europe”
4 The goal of this analysis is to highlight the success and failures
of EU’s action toward the Balkans region, in a period that starts from the crushing of the region,
when EU’s external action was in an embryonic step, to nowadays, in the post-conflict in the
Balkans, where fragility and organized crime represent the major threats.

3 When the EU refers to Western Balkans, it includes the following five countries: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
J.Solana, A Secure Europe in a Better World, pag 7;
2. Civilian power Europe in the Western Balkan region
2.1 The outbreak of the Balkan war and EU’s reaction
Having played a largely secondary role in the Gulf War, the breakup of former Yugoslavia
presented a golden opportunity for the EU and its members to improve upon their dismal
performance and prove themselves collectively as a major player. EU’s effort to solve the Balkan
crisis were also justified by the geographical proximity with two member states with Yugoslavia
and, in particular, because of the ethno-nationalist problems exploded in this area, which
represented a threat for EU’s security (White, 2001:107). From the outset of former Yugoslavia’s
disintegration Western stabilization efforts were undermined by a lack of a transatlantic consensus
on a need and mode of action, and the EU’s failure to agree and mount a unified response to the
crisis. When the US assumed a leadership role in the Balkans in 1994, the policy shift was not
premised on an articulation of an overriding American interest in the region. Rather, it was
precipitated by a combination of secondary interests, such as the rescue of European forces,
domestic pressure, support for multiculturalism and humanitarian action driven by the so-called
“CNN effect.”5
In the meantime, as the Maastricht Treaty gained ground, the EU declared the “hour
of Europe” (Kostovicova, 2004:2). But the EU’s common action was anticipated by Germany’s
unilateral recognition of Slovenia and Croatia in the late of 1991. Largely due to domestic political
reasons, Germany took the lead in trying to persuade other member states to recognize the republics
and eventually skip the EU action. The consensus among the member states was rapidly repaired
and they all agreed to recognition, but at a great cost. First of all, German policy greatly undermined
the whole CFSP project that had just commenced. Secondly, German unilateralism endangered the
ongoing mediation effort and with the proceeding recognition of Bosnia in 1992 made a
considerable contribution to the intensification of the Balkan crisis. This action led by Germany,
produced several international mediation efforts and pushed for a major collaboration between EU
and USA in a diplomatic front, and enforced EU’s cooperation with UN forces. Concerning the
diplomatic initiative, led by US in 1994, the EU was simply enjoying the so-called Contact Group,
which was composed by US, Russia, France, Germany and United Kingdom, and lastly included
Italy. This was an extra-institutional body, which became the key policy-making organ for the West
(Treacher, 2004:56). The Contact Group resulted in certain EU members as more “high-profile”
than others in the intervention, and the interests of those EU members, rather than the collective

5 Daniel Serwer, “The Balkans from American to European Leadership”, pag 172;
policy, were exalted. At this point the EU had ceased to act as a single entity in the crisis. As White
stated: “the failure to pacify the Balkans and the inability to play a pivotal role shows procedural
problems created by the perceived need to maintain consensus at all costs and the propensity of
individual member states to pursue their own interests rather than a common policy on this issue”
(White, 2001:109). The cooperation among international actors involved in the crisis, took always
more the characteristics of cooperative multilateralism. In the latter half of 1990s, in fact, UN,
NATO, EU, OSCE and WEU established a multilateral cooperative approach6
. The process was
marked by gradual marginalization of the UN in the military arena, the emergence of NATO as a
peace enforcer and an emergence of the EU as a single political actor in foreign affairs.
By and large, throughout the 1990s the EU was present in the Balkans mainly through a
participation of its individual members in interlocking cooperative initiative in the Balkans. The
state collapse in Albania in 1997 highlighted the EU’s inability to make a concert approach to a
security crisis as one actor. Despite attempts to launch an EU intervention through the WEU
framework, as NATO proved unwilling to take additional Balkan engagement, a disagreement
among the EU’s foreign ministers paralysed the effort. With Italy’s leadership, a coalition of the
willing member states was assembled and received a UN mandate for action.
It is sure that the EU failed fundamentally to equip itself to meet the world’s expectations, which
were raised by the outcome of the TEU which said that member states would “support Union’s
external and security policy activity actively and unreservedly” and that CFSP would “strengthen
the security of the Union and its member states in all ways.”
The Union, initially, was successful mediator and successful in utilizing the “civilian” instruments
to secure ceasefire. Despite, in fact, the Gulf War, there were many aspects of the Union which
demonstrated its status of civilian power, in a post Cold War world, which “made it perfectly
suitable to take the lead in an environment where military force now seemed irrelevant” ( Hill,
1998:21). The Serbian government, on a first stage, was warned that financial credits and other
assistance as well as negotiations toward a privileged so called Association Agreement were
threatened by the ongoing absence of a ceasefire (Treacher, 2004:56). This situation didn’t last long
time. The gap between the EU’s capabilities and the rest of the world’s expectations is partly a
consequence of the EU’s lack of capacity for leadership (Peterson & Sjursen, 1998:6).

6 The UN was able to establish its peace-enforcing profile in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, primarily through the
cooperation with NATO. In tun, this cooperation allowed NATO to begin to chart out its post-Cold War role. NATO’s
was involved in enforcing the UN flight ban on Bosnia-Herzegovina, the sanctions implementation in the Danube and
the Adriatic as well as the protection of “safe areas”. Meanwhile, EU’s monitoring Mission in Bosnia cooperated
closely with UN and the OSCE.
7 Article 11 (2) TUE, in the Lisbon treaty version Article 24 (3), which adds : “in a spirit of loyalty and solidarity and
shell comply with the Union’s action in this area”
2.2 The Post-Conflict Balkans and its security profile: the Association and
Stabilization Process (SAP) and the Stability Pact
With the creation of several states in the Balkan region: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and
Montenegro, Macedonia and the issue about the UN-protectorate Kosovo, the degree of legitimacy
among these states remained poor. This is a direct result of the ethnic conflict. Fragility of these
states is additionally undermined by organized criminal networks from whom a strong and effective
state represents a major threat. Concerning criminal networks, the Balkans assumed several roles: it
established itself as a transit route, as a destination, but, also, due to the impoverishment and
insecurity, as a source of illicit commodities. The paradox is that there is more stability in the region
but an increasing risk in security due to criminal networks.
After the launching of the Association and Stabilization Process (SAP), during the Kosovo war in
1999, the relationship between EU and the Balkans region was reshaped. The main purpose of this
process was the promise of the offering of the EU membership for Balkans countries, with a major
commitment in stability and prosperity. The tools to implement stability and prosperity were: rule
of law, democratic and stable institutions and free economy and the reference to regional
cooperation. In the words of the Commission, concerning the SAP: “the process and the prospects it
offers are serving as the anchor for reform in the Western Balkans in the same way the accession
process has in Central and Eastern Europe”
and, also, about the main ambition of this process: “it
should try to contribute to reducing the tensions arising from the conflict and preventing a
resumption of hostilities, promote a better understanding that is in the interest of each party to
cooperate rather than to try systematically to put obstacles in the way of any undertaking by a
neighbour, contribute to restore confidence and dialogue, and overcome ethnic division and
hatreds” (Council of the EU, 1996: Annex III). Even if, after the June 2003, the Thessaloniki
European Council raised hopes and reinvigorated the willingness to let Balkans countries joining
the EU, their status remained that of potential candidates rather than candidates. The SAP, in fact, is
“envisaged as a process of preparation for EU integration rather than being integral to the
integration process” (Kostovicova, 2004:9). In sum, “effective implementation of the Stabilization

8 Report from the Commission: The Stabilization and Association Process for South East Europe, Second Annual
Report, Brussels, 26.03.2003, COM (2003), 139 final, pag.3;
and Association Agreements is a prerequisite for any further assessment by the EU of the country’s
prospect of accession.”9
Before the launching of the SAP, EU gave birth to another initiative, that’s to say the Stability Pact,
signed in June 1999. The main purpose of this action was that of pushing the Balkan countries for a
more transformative force, but, with the introduction of the SAP, the Stability Pact became just a
tool to complement and reinforce the latter.10 The Pact brings together over 40 partner-countries,
international political, financial and security organizations, as well as intra-regional initiatives, and
acts like a facilitating mechanism rather than an implementing agency. The Pact activities are
organised around three tables dealing with democracy and human rights, economic reconstruction
and development, and security issues. The difference between the SAP and the Stability Pact is that
the last one considers stability in a complex way, that’s to say as a function of sustainable
democracy, economic well-being and secure environment.
Through the Stability Pact, several initiatives concerning the security sector have also been taken.11
A study made by the Centre for International and Security Studies of York University, Canada, has
analyzed these initiatives, and found a ”general lack of coordination and even competition among
various initiatives”12This study has underlined the presence of two limits related to the Stability
Pact: one concerns the concentration on institutional reforms, which regards solely policy-makers
and officials, and avoids to give consideration to local civil society organizations; the other limit,
instead, consists on the marginalization of ethnic dimension of security sector reform initiatives,
particularly, a need for more multiethnic policing and the policing of the rights of minorities, as
well as demilitarization of police forces in Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro.
Concerning the overall EU political strategy for the Balkans, its main purpose were established
during the European Council Conclusion in February 1996, when it was envisaged that at the basis
of EU regional approach there was not only an economic conditionality, but also a political one
(Pippan, 2004:222). The establishment of contractual relations, it was remarked, depends on the
willingness of the target countries to work for the stabilization of the region, for the human and
minorities’ rights respect and democratic principles support. The platform of the EU for the
development of the process of stability and good neighbourliness included the following main

9 From Regional Approach to the Stabilization & Association process:
10 Special Coordinator Erhard Busek is keen to stress that the SP is broader than SAP both geographically and
thematically. Apart from the countries of the Western Balkans, the so-called SAP countries, it also includes Bulgaria,
Romania and Moldova. Therefore, according to him it acts as a the SAP, the Accession Process and Moldova for
regional cooperation process, bridging existing gaps and putting all countries on a similar level of engagement. See:
11 Denisa Kostovicova counts more than five hundred initiatives.
12 Security Sector Reform in South Eastern Europe: An Inventory of Initiatives, York University Centre for
International and Security Studies:
possible contents: “ Progressive restoration of the movement of people and ideas, in particular
relating to information; organization of regional meetings, restoration of dialogue between different
elements of society (intellectual, journalists, religious figures); provision to ban propaganda
promoting aggression; re-launching regional, cultural, scientific and technical cooperation; initial
identification of specific cross-border projects; cooperation in re-establishing civil society,
especially in areas of justice and administration (conjointly with the programmes developed by the
Council of Europe)” (Council of the EU, 1996: Annex III).
In sum, the Stability Pact continues to contribute to the stabilization of the Western Balkans by
supporting a wide range of reforms and fostering the promotion of regionalization. On the other
hand, concerning the security issues, the Pact does not offer an answer to possible and to short and
medium term security threats. Security sector reform activities tackling the ethnic dimension of
security threats in the region have been underrepresented in the Pact’s initiatives.
2.3 The EU’s adoption of civilian means and civilian ends in the Balkan region
In the EU’s attempts to intervene in the Balkans crisis the military and the civilian means came to
overlap one another. At the beginning of the crisis there was consensus among the member states to
approach the issue with largely civilian instruments. Initially, diplomatic tools, such as mediation,
worked rather well in negotiating a ceasefire and the EU’s financial pressure was being exercised
when comprehensive economical sanctions, specially targeted toward Serbia and Montenegro, were
being carried out. The utilizing of civilian tools, such as mediation and sanctions, in this instance
would place the EU well to the right at the civilian ideal-type. The period of success for this
strategy, however, didn’t last for long time and crashed when sanctions caused both efficiency and
credibility problems for the EU. The EU’s credibility, in fact, suffered when the threats of tightened
sanctions were not backed up by implementation. In an attempt to make this blockade more
effective, the EU deployed naval forces under the WEU. This event signed the shifting approach
from a civilian method to a military one (White, 2001:114). With the agreement reached in Dayton,
the Balkan crisis didn’t arrived to an end, and instability in Albania and Kosovo soon become
relevant. The civilian means, considering all this events, were at the final step, and only through the
adoption of civilian ends it is possible to assume that EU is still a civilian power. Therefore, it is a
civilian power, regardless of using of military tools. As explained before, with the concepts of
milieu and possessive goals used by Wolfer, it is still difficult to define what civilian ends are. The
civilian ends surely concern the domestication of international politics and the implementation of
the rule of law. The difference between civilian ends and civilian means is that, while the last are
related to what is intended to be achieved, civilian ends concerns how those goals are achieved.
Dunne and Wheeler, for instance, suggest to adopt the term “good international citizenship” to help
clarify this ends (Dunne and Wheeler, 1998:869). This concept, applied to international relations,
would push international actors to purse goals such as: strengthen international support for human
rights standards, comply with international rules and act multilaterally and with UN authorization
whenever possible (Smith, 2005:13). Through the lenses of the Balkan crisis it is possible to analyse
how much the EU has been a good citizen. On the Balkan issue the EU was very keen on keeping
an open dialogue and cooperating with other international entities. However, despite good
intentions, this interlocking of multiple institutions, adopting effective veto power over each other
in the absence of any clear hierarchy, eventually came to be a problem in solving the crisis. There
were no material gains for the EU to engage in war. Although the proximity of Yugoslavia was a
clear threat to EU territory and it was in their interest to see the ethnic-nationalist problem solved
before those problems spread to the EU. Even though the EU failed in the Balkans, it seems as if its
intentions to approach the crisis in civilian manners were well meant. Whether for self protection or
genuine concern for the people of the Balkans there was a conscious step taken by the EU to
domesticate the problems, take on the responsibility for a global concern and spread equality,
justice and tolerance.
3.Critical reflections
As we argued in this analysis, the role of EU in the promotion of democracy, human rights, and the
rule of law as well as its engagement in conflict prevention, crisis management and post conflict
peace-building and reconstruction is fully consistent with a foreign policy identity of a “civilian
power.” This role attributed by several scholars, as mentioned before, to EU took place after the
end of the Cold War, but it is only in 2000 that the “civilian power Europe” started to act
consistently. By that time, the various strategies and instruments for promotion of democracy,
human rights and the rule of law had been integrated into a common framework. For other scholars,
on the other hand, since the war outbreak in the Balkans, in the early 1990s, the EU as adopted a
more military approach. The creation of an EU Rapid Reaction Force, doctrines on a common
defence policy and talks on a common defence budget would lead to think that EU has left its
civilian power approach, that was so idealized before, to take its place as a military actor.
Concerning the Balkans region, EU’s external action has been analyzed in this work in two different
momentum, the first during the outbreak of the war and the second after the dismantling of the
region. Applying the civilian power parameters to this issue, it is possible to underline that EU’s
action in foreign affairs has been ambivalent, passing from a civilian to a military approach. EU, in
few words, finds itself at a crossroad between the two, where on the one side the Union has taken
too many measures, policy wise, toward a military power to go back, and it does not have the
military capacity or the consensus of all the member states to go toward a more militarized future.
In conclusion, Western Balkans countries are experiencing an improvement in human rights
protection and an advancement in democratic standards performances. This tendency emerged more
clearly since the EU offered to the new states the status of potential candidates. However, the
multilateral involvement of the international community in the Balkan political system reminds us
that the positive political changes are not due to EU’s efforts only nor are they self sustainable, long
standing and really embedded in the Balkan societies. Furthermore, the positive trend in the
political reform process and the improvement of the democratic performance in the Western
Balkans since 1999 seems to confirm that “ an eventual EU membership represents a real incentive
to proceed with domestic political reforms” (Panebianco and Rossi, 2004:3).
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