The European Union’s Normative Role in the Dissolution of the Ex-Yugoslavia: An Underestimated Contribution

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Abstract: 

The European Community/Union has been an important factor in the dissolution of the Ex-Yugoslavia, even though this affirmation has raised many critics and debates. This paper tries to re-evaluate this role in an actual perspective, after nearly quarter a century from the beginning of the conflict. The article defends the idea that, despite of the smacks of the European Community/European Union to prevent the disruption of ethnic hatreds in the territory of the ex-Yugoslavia, it has given a prominent contribution in other directions, less explored previously. The paper deals with “what has been done” not with what “has not been done” from the part of the European Community/Union in the first phase of the dissolution of the Ex-Yugoslavia (1990-1993). It defends two main little explored arguments: That EC/EU behaved as a soft power par excellence by taking part in the conflict as a credible negotiator and as a normative power in primis by contributing in the international level in changing the concepts of “population” and “entity” of a state through the norms produced during 1990-1993. This evaluation is realized through the constructive liberal approach in the framework of the International Relations, combined with a geopolitical description of the panorama of the events and a revision of the documents in the Archives of the European Union in Florence and the Bulletins of the European Community of that period. The paper tries to see in a different light the reasons for the European opposition to the dissolution of the ex-Yugoslavia at the beginning, taking in account the economic ties with that country, the state of the Foreign Policy within the EC in that period and the geopolitical world situation, all together considered as “limits” posed to the EC/EU ability of action in the beginning of the dissolution of the Ex-Yugoslavia.

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