Promoting democracy, development or governance in Kosovo? the EU’s intervention in comparative perspective

Adam Fagan , Queen Mary, University of London

Using a conceptual framework for analysing democracy promotion based on three categories of intervention (political; developmental; and governance), the paper maps and analyses the substance and content of the international community’s current democracy promotion initiatives in Kosovo. Rather than evaluating the impact of specific initiatives offered by particular donors, the objectives of this research are to place EU assistance within the broader perspective of overall provision, and to ascertain whether a shift is taking place away from conventional strategies designed to exert political leverage and developmental change, towards a more governance focused approach.

The conclusion reached is that whilst the EU’s assistance strategy is somewhat distinct in terms of the amount of resources provide and the scope of the endeavour, the Commission’s intervention in Kosovo remains concordant with the provision offered by other donors: it is overwhelmingly targeted towards supporting change from below through civil society assistance (developmental), with a slight shift towards supporting new modes of governance interaction between state and non-state actors. Indeed, despite the “state-building” and “governance” rhetoric employed by the international community in its dealings with Kosovo, as well as the imperative of strengthening political institutions, the over-whelming thrust of democracy promotion remains developmental. Most of the donors surveyed in this research still gear their assistance towards support for civil society and for the economic and social development of the new state.

About the speaker
Adam Fagan is Professor of European Politics at Queen Mary, University of London and a Senior Research Fellow at the LSE. He has published extensively on the politics of post-conflict Bosnia, Kosovo and Serbia, with particular reference to the emergence of new modes of governance, external assistance for civil society development, and the impact of Europeanization on state and society. His recent work includes: Europe’s Balkan Dilemma: Paths to Civil Society or State-Building? (I.B. Tauris, 2010); " EU assistance for civil society in Kosovo: a step too far for democracy promotion?" Democratization 18 (3) 2011); ‘EU conditionality and governance in Bosnia-Herzegovina: environmental regulation of the trans-European road network’ Europe-Asia Studies 63 (9); ‘Global-local linkage in the Western Balkans: The politics of environmental capacity building in Bosnia-Herzegovina.' Political Studies 56 (3) 2008.

Venue: UNU-MERIT Conference Room

Date: 24 November 2011

Time: 12:30 - 13:30


UNU-MERIT