With A Little Help From My Friend - Foreign and Security Policy of the EU and the USA in Kosovo

Bachelor Thesis, 2008

48 Pages, Grade: 2,3


Table of Content


1. Introduction

2. Capability-Expectations Gap: The Hill-Ginsberg Approach

3. History of the Kosovo Conflict

4. Foreign and Security Policy of the EU in Kosovo
4.1. EU ’s Interest in Kosovo
4.2. EU ’s Interventions in Kosovo
4.3. Evaluation of EU Actions

5. Needing the Help of a Friend – The US engages in Kosovo
5.1. Transatlantic Relationship
5.1.1. The EU ’s Assessment of the Transatlantic Relations
5.1.2. The US’ Assessment of the Transatlantic Relations
5.1.3. Iraq War as Crisis and Catalyst
5.2. US Interest for Intervention in Kosovo
5.3. Interventions of the Transatlantic Community
5.4. Evaluation of the Transatlantic Interventions

6. Conclusion



Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

With A Little Help From My Friend – Foreign and Security Policy of the EU and the USA in Kosovo

1. Introduction

The Western Balkans, and in particular Kosovo, constitute an interesting area of study in the field political science and international relations in that, it not only brings into focus the development and evolution of the European Union (EU) since its inception, but also offers to define the transatlantic relationship between the European Union and the United States of America (USA). The Kosovo Conflict and the surrounding events throughout the Balkans have repeatedly demonstrated that the European Union still lacks the political, judicial and military competencies in its collective approaches to security and foreign policy. Since its inception, the EU had been, and continues to be greatly dependent on its partner and ally, the United States. Hence, the EU was characterized with the Capability-Expectations Gap (CEP), stating that the international environment and the EU itself expect higher outcomes than it is actually capable of delivering. Consequently, the incidents within mainland Europe were accompanied by continuous efforts to improve their Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). During the course of this paper I would like bring into view an objective assessment, in the application of the European Union’s collective approach to regional and international security, and the outreach of its common foreign policy objectives.

The European Union and the United States are significant international actors that in principle represent similar Western values and norms, and their relationship “is arguably the most important geopolitical relationship in the world. ”1 However, their diverging views on the social justice, political ideology, wider conduct of society towards the rest of the world and on responses towards threats and crises as well as the competition on the global financial markets arises the suspicion if “the EU and US are actually friends or rivals.“2

Hence, in the course of this paper I would like to find out whether the presence and involvement of the EU and the US in Kosovo, is simply a method to impose stability and increase security in the region, whether a larger picture is emerging regarding the geopolitical positioning of both entities in Kosovo, or if their interventions are based on a well-functioning and genuine transatlantic cooperation which results in a successful outcome. Furthermore, the questions arise as to whether or not the EU will manage to close the Capability-Expectations Gap through its interventions in Kosovo and if it will finally establish itself as a coordinated institution that is capable of acting independently. And, if this would be the case, what notable developments would occur in EU-US relations? Would the perceptions of the developing world change significantly towards a friendlier and cooperative EU, and would the US ’s view on the future interoperability with the EU come under more scrutiny?

In order to approach an answer to these questions I will first of all focus on the Foreign and Security Policy of the EU, its interventions in Kosovo and the evaluation of the same. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said: “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”3 Therefore, I would like to point out the reasons why the European Union and the United States chose to engage in Kosovo. Whereas it might be quite obvious for the EU to be interested in a stable Kosovo, the US has far more complex reasons for its involvements in European soil.

An insight into the complexity surrounding transatlantic relations would require taking note of the long and important history between the European Union and the United States. After all, the US has served as a guarantor of security and stability in Europe ever since the foundation of the European Community of Coal and Steel. In order to better comprehend and analyze the relationship between the partners, one has to examine how they perceive each other. More importantly, one cannot neglect the single incident which has deeply ruptured this relationship: the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Not only is this important in regard of the transatlantic relationship but also because of its direct and indirect to the European Common and Security Policy.

When examining the transatlantic relations it is also important to contemplate what the EU needs for security-political capabilities to act when necessary.4 Before such an intervention as the invasion of another country for humanitarian purposes or for regional security purposes, both partners face the significant dilemma of political persuasion: they are either being defamed as Imperialists or reproached with indifference.5 I am going to offer a summary and an evaluation of the interventions of the Transatlantic Community in Kosovo and their greater political culminations. This evaluation then leads me back to the Capability-Expectations Gap approach which then will hopefully help to draw a conclusion concerning a possible redefinition of the relationship between the European Union and the United States of America through its intervention in Kosovo.

2. Capability-Expectations Gap: The Hill-Ginsberg Approach

There are various theories and approaches within the general context of international relations, and within the specific conduct and application of the European Unions’ Common Foreign and Security Policy and its effectiveness. For example, the argument behind an interventionist and assertive policy in a changing security and political landscape is often balanced out with the inability within the EU membership to find common ground relative to each individual Member State’s national interests. Also, the clash of idealistic perceptions emanating from the other side of the Atlantic and the worldview of the United States is often at odds with a more pragmatic approach adopted by a majority of EU countries. This really signifies the subtle problems which have dogged the study of European international relations in the past century, originating from the Wilsonian Doctrine at the end of World War I to the perception of potential idealism seen through the prism of a dominant and unilateral United States foreign policy today.

Furthermore, many theories (e.g. Keohane, Hoffmann, Moravcsik) do “not promise to translate well into the foreign policy field, where past trauma, common values, institutional evolution and ideological earthquakes are more likely to provide convincing explanations of the changing patterns of diplomacy. ”6 However, in my opinion the relatively young Capacity-Expectations Gap (CEG) approach from 1993 by Christopher Hill is the most appropriate one to analyze the relationship of the EU and the US, and the most profound one to demonstrate a degree of evolution. The approach focuses on the expectations towards the EU from other state actors as well as what the EU expects from itself and its capabilities in the international domain. As such, the self-explanatory question is ‘how is the European Union perceived as a responsible international actor?.’ Within the scope of the working title one can see this approach from different angles and therefore analyze how each actor envisages themselves especially on the question of Kosovo and the underlying history and the origins of the Balkans which have governed the transatlantic relations for the past twenty years.

But let me start by summarizing the main arguments from Christopher Hills’ essay “The Capability-Expectation Gap, or Conceptualizing Europe’s International Role”. First of all, one has to be aware of the fact that all actions by the state or union are limited by the capacity laid down in the constitution – or contracts in the EU ’s case – itself. As the system of the EU is described as sui generis, it is quite difficult for the Union to act as it would like to. With the US being a federal state and with the president having the last word on actions, it is able to act fast and coherent.

Consequently, Christopher Hill states that the European failure over the Yugoslavian Wars in the early 1990s has shown that “the Community is not an effective international actor, in terms both of its capacity to produce collective decisions and its impact on events.”7 However, the EC might not have been an effective actor on the world stage at the time of his article but it already possessed – if also limited – actorness and an international presence.8

After the break up of the Soviet Union, the European Union became the new element which had to fill the now absent bipolar vacuum in order to “[balance] American strength globally ”.9 From a realist perspective, it has lived up to its expectations and beyond; in stabilizing the European mainland, which has seen two World Wars, it has undertaken great strides in increasing international trade with the rest of world, especially with new and emerging economies, it provides a substantial sum in developmental assistance through various initiatives and country-specific projects, and a responsible and coherent voice in international diplomacy at a time when the United States has lost much of its moral stature and influence within the developing world.

The EU efforts in international diplomacy can be construed as progressive and partially successful as it has served as a mediator in conflict resolution and developed a sense of political understanding rather quickly so that a “considerable diplomatic effort and creativity in the early stages of the Yugoslavian imbroglio, continued thereafter in the harness with the United Nations”10 could be seen. Still, at the time of Christopher Hills’ article, although being internationally present and active, it is “not being perceived as a superpower and potential hegemon.”11 Therefore, being successful in various areas of the Unions’ functions especially its dealing with the developing world, the demonstration of mutual respect and understanding, and its promotion of universal values and norms; a certain degree of expectations from the rest of the world on the favorable concepts of governance, human rights and international participation began to build up. Such expectations, accompanied the need for the EU to play a more assertive role globally. However, this has been hindered by its inability to find common ground, given the myriad of dimensions of operation which it finds itself. Most notably the United Nations system (UN) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) with each system presenting a parallel, but different approach to the EU ’s outreach internationally.

Given its economic weight, the European Union has not yet been able to successfully convert it to the political sphere, lacks cohesiveness, common financial and military application as well as operational capacity to cope with the tasks demanded by other actors, the Commission or Member States. Christopher Hill concludes by saying that the “European external policy is clearly unsatisfactory and even dangerous” and stresses once again that there is a “large gap between what is expected and what can be achieved.”12 He suggests that the EU should change directions in trying to mirror the United States’ superpower status and instead focus its efforts into improvements both within the EU, and its conduct of relations with the outside world.

Nevertheless, the EU has pursued a more result-oriented and pragmatic approach to the problems it faces over the past decade, internally and externally, and has continuously worked on the political integration of the Union and its operational capacities. In September 1999, Professor Roy H. Ginsberg wrote the essay “Conceptualizing the European Union as an International Actor: Narrowing the Theoretical Capability-Expectations Gap”13, referring to Christopher Hills’ concept.

Hence, Ginsberg also tries to identify a theoretical concept to explain European Foreign Policy (EFP). However, there have been progressive developments in the Union; the Maastricht Treaty, and the Amsterdam Treaty are indeed very positive steps in the right direction towards integration. These two developments have given the EU more capabilities in various areas and have especially improved the decision-making process in the Foreign Policy sector. Taking these achievements into account together with the lowering of expectations by involved actors, Ginsberg asserts “that the theoretical capability-expectations gap (CEP) has begun to narrow in the 1990s.”14

However, with the newly created Common Foreign and Security Policy, facing high expectations, the EU failed to make a positive impact in the Bosnian wars in 1991-1995 and in Kosovo in 1998. Ginsberg states that the “EFP seemed to have worked better before expectations were raised.”15 This can be commonly perceived as the lack of interoperability within the EU states in utilizing both preventive and responsive security measures to deal with threats and events, given the political constraints at the time, especially when the debate on integration was being played in domestic constituencies.

The hesitation and the absence of commitment to the EU ’s common foreign and security objectives, as being experimental and as contrary to some national interests may have also contributed to this factor.

Consequently, as a result the European Union as well as other state and non-state actors lowered their expectations towards the EU in the above mentioned policy areas. Nevertheless, the acknowledgment and the realization of a common approach to both diplomatic and security problems did take place within the EU, and work towards improving its interoperability, identity and integration following the fall of the Milosevic regime, and the need to adjust to the challenges in the 21st century security landscape eventually lead to narrowing the gap.

Almost 10 years have passed since the publication of Ginsber gs’ article and the European Union has expanded its capacities further through the Nice Treaty in 2000 and the most recent Lisbon Treaty in 2007 (not fully ratified). Some of these developments – especially in the area of CSFP – have been triggered by incidents in the Western Balkans.

So the question arises if, the gap is more between rhetoric and reality and also if “in military terms the capability-expectations gap in fact may be something of a myth.“16

3. History of the Kosovo Conflict

The breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s is characterized by hostilities, separation movements and brutal wars. One of these wars includes the fights over the small province of Kosovo, located in the south of Serbia. Out of historical reasons, both Serbian and Albanian people claim the area to belong to them.

Although being part of Serbia, the two million inhabitants of Kosovo enjoyed far- reaching autonomy with an own government and parliament, which was a settlement acceptable for both sides. However, as the Albanian parallel structures were annulled by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, which led to a massive expulsion of the Kosovo- Albanian people and provoked an increase of violence in the province. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) led a guerilla war to which Serbia reacted with repressive measures. The situation escalated in February 1998.17

This was the moment when the European Union and the United States decided to act. The Transatlantic Community convoked a conference in Rambouillet, France, trying to solve the situation in Kosovo. When the Serbian side refused to sign the contract it came to a NATO intervention on March 24, 1999. Having thought that the bombardment would only last a few days, the NATO was quite puzzled when Milosevic resisted for 10 weeks until he finally admitted defeat. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) released the Resolution 1244 which established Kosovo as an international protectorate under the auspices of the UN, the so-called United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

The UNMIK is divided into four pillars; two in the hands of the UN (Police and Justice, Civil Administration), one covered by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE, Democratization and Institution Building) and the European Union is responsible for the Economic Development and Reconstruction.

The Mission was based on the principle of “Standards before Status”, meaning that there has to be reached a certain level in eight areas (functioning democratic institutions, rule of law, freedom of movement, sustainable returns and the rights of communities and their members, economy, property rights (including cultural heritage), Pristina-Belgrade dialogue, Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC)18) before the International Community decides whether Kosovo remains a part of Serbia or gains its independence. However, even after nine years, UNMIK was not able to build up a secure, stable and self- governing state. Tired of waiting for the International Community to reach a conclusion, Kosovo eventually proclaimed its independence on February 17, 2008. As of the writing of this paper (November 2008) 52 states worldwide have recognized Kosovo as an independent state, including the United States of America and 20 of the 27 EU member states.19

4. Foreign and Security Policy of the EU in Kosovo

The fact that the European Union was not able to react appropriately to the Yugoslavian wars led to their decision to establish a Common Foreign and Security Policy with the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. However, not much action has been taken in the following years. Nonetheless, in view of the escalating Kosovo crisis even the most nationalistically oriented countries (particularly France and the United Kingdom) were convinced that the EU needed to improve their CFSP and to build up their military capacities. At their summit in St. Malo on December 3-4, 1998 British and French delegates agree upon an independent European military troop to be internationally operational. This change of position partly derives from the idea “to pursue greater defense cooperation in light of the limited European contribution to the Kosovo operation”20 and hence (especially an intention of Tony Blair) to be able to share the burden in military expenses with the United States.21 In spite of this, the application of this idea is not timely enough and the EU is not able to intervene in the Kosovo war, resulting in the USA leading the NATO air attacks.

This military failure on the part of the European Union pushes the heads of states to the creation of the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) at its meeting in Cologne in June 1999. Six months later the European Council pronounces its Headline Goal, planning the establishment of a European Battle Group which consists of 60.000 soldiers who are ready for deployment within 60 days and can sustain a mission for at least one year. There it is, the implementation of the basic ideas of the Franco-British Joint Declaration, unfortunately, one year too late.

4.1. EU ’s Interest in Kosovo

“The stability of the region [Kosovo] is intrinsically linked to that of the EU, and the EU ’s credibility as an international actor thus depends to a large extent on its success in the Balkans.“22 Consequently, the European Union puts a lot of effort into Kosovo in order to demonstrate their credibility as an international actor and of a prosperous functioning of their Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Kosovo Conflict turned into a test case for European peacekeeping operation. Ever since the European failure in the Yugoslavian wars, the EU is under the pressure to prove itself as a global player who can guarantee peace and security. Hence, only a successful operation in Europe’s most difficult conflict can prove that the CFSP really is an effective instrument of the EU.23

This, although in all likelihood being one of the major motives, is not the only reason why the EU engages itself in the Western Balkan. Through the Eastern Enlargement in 2004 the EU now shares a geographical closeness to the Balkans and the Kosovo as one major disturbing factor therefore deserves special attention of the Union in order to guarantee its “area of freedom, security and justice.”24

The Kosovo is one of the poorest areas in Europe and characterized by political instability, the lack of jurisdictional and democratic principles, economical backwardness, a high unemployment rate, insufficient power supply, corruption and organized crime.25 This instability could easily spread into the Union and could in particular destabilize the neighboring countries.26 So one can say that “Europe intervened in the Balkans and in Kosovo not merely for realpolitik objectives, but to protect the goals of a new political, economic, and social community. ”27

Furthermore, the ongoing struggle between Serbian and Albanian minorities is a serious risk to the population in the region itself, to the EU and to global security in general. The outbreak of the Kosovo crisis “marked a turning point for Europe, which acknowledged that violence and conflict were no longer acceptable in the ‘new ’Europe – even on its periphery.”28 Therefore, it is the EU ’s responsibility to aid with the establishment of the rule of law in Kosovo, to fight against crime, drugs and human trafficking to prevent violence and war in order to keep its own member states safe.29 Through this engagement the EU also protects itself from a flow of migrants and refugees and takes action regarding economic development to avert the Kosovo of becoming a long-term patient of the Union.

Another reason for European intervention in Kosovo was pointed out by the SWP/WWICS Working Group. The participants stated that the EU is hoping that once Kosovo is secure, it will constitute a new production site thanks to the low wage costs and wage incidentals.30 Therefore, member states see a long term investment as they would like to relocate their production to the Western Balkans.

What the EU does to establish a safe environment in the Kosovo shall be the content of the next chapter.


1 Cameron, Fraser. "Transatlantic Relations." In An Introduction to European Foreign Policy, by Fraser Cameron, 90-106. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2007, p. 90

2 ibid, p. 90

3 Franklin D. Roosevelt. Quote taken from BrainyQuote. Franklin D. Roosevelt Quotes. 2008. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/f/franklin_d_roosevelt.html (accessed November 13, 2008).

4 cf. Frank, Johann, and Gustav E. Gustenau. "Comparison of European and US Policies for Safeguarding external Security." In Europe - USA: Diverging Partners, by Gustav E. Gustenau, Otmar Höll and Thomas Nowotny (Eds.), 307-360. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 2006, p. 320

5 cf. Young, David. "Kosovo: It IS a Real Geopolitical Precedent." European Affairs. Winter/Spring 2008. http://www.europeanaffairs.org/current_issue/2008_winter_spring/2008_winter_spring_12.php4 (accessed July 17, 2008), p. 4

6 Hill, Christopher. "The Capability-Expectations Gap, or Conceptualizing Europe's International Role." Journal of Common Market Studies, September 1993, p. 308

7 ibid., p. 306

8 cf. ibid., pp. 308ff.

9 ibid., p. 312

10 ibid., p. 313

11 ibid., p. 313

12 ibid., p. 326

13 Ginsberg, Roy H. "Conceptualizing the European Union as an International Actor: Narrowing the Theoretical Capability-Expectations Gap."Journal of Common Market Studies, September 1999: 430-454.

14 ibid., p. 430

15 ibid., p. 430

16 Mahncke, Dieter. "Transatlantic Relations." In European Foreign Policy. From Rhetoric to Reality?, by Dieter Mahncke, Alicia Ambos and Christopher Reynolds (Eds.), 195-208. Brussels: P.I.E.-Peter Lang, 2004. p. 206

17 Szemler, Tamas, Marie-Janine Calic, Tamas Novak, Dusan Reljic, and Peter Schmidt. "The EU Presence in a Post-Status Kosovo. Challenges and Opportunities."Südosteuropa, 2007, 55 ed.: 145-164.

18 United Nations. About UNMIK. 2001-2007. http://www.unmikonline.org/intro.htm (accessed October 18, 2008).

19 kosova.org. Staaten die Kosovo als Unabhängigen Staat anerkannt haben. November 01, 2008. http://kosova.org/independence/liste-der-staaten/index.asp (accessed November 10, 2008).

20 Smith, Michael E. Europe's Foreign and Security Policy. The Institutionalization of Cooperation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004, p. 233

21 cf. Gross, Eva. "European Union Foreign Policy towards the Balkans." In European Foreign Policy in an Evolving International System. The Road Towards Convergence, by Nicola Casarini and Constanze Musu, 97-111. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, England: PALGRAVE MACMILLAN, 2007, p. 102

22 Cameron, Fraser. "The Balkans and Turkey." In An Introduction to European Foreign Policy, by Fraser Cameron, 127-143. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2007, p. 142

23 Reljic, Dusan. "Kosovo - ein Prüfstein für die EU. Im Dreieck EU-USA-Russland wird über die langfristige Stabilität des Westbalkans entschieden." SWP-Aktuell. Berlin: SWP (Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Politik. German Institute for International and Security Affairs), March 2006.

24 European Commission. Freedom, Security and Justice. July 2008. http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/fsj/intro/fsj_intro_en.htm (accessed October 17, 2008).

25 cf. Calic, Marie-Janine. "Der Stabilisierungs- und Assoziierungsprozeß auf dem Prüfstand. Empfehlungen für die Weiterentwicklung europäischer Balkanpolitik."SWP-Studie. Berlin: SWP (Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Politik. German Institute for International and Security Affairs), September 2004.

26 cf. Solana, Javier in Posener, Alan. "Rom - Byzanz - Istanbul - Wien - Brüssel."IP (Internationale Politik), June 2008, 63 ed., p. 34. Zöpel, Christoph. "Alle rasch aufnehmen!"IP (Internationale Politik), June 2008, 63 ed., p. 15

27 van Metre, Lauren. "Transatlantic Relations in the Aftermath of Kosovo."Special Report. Washington DC: United Institute of Peace (www.usip.org), 2000, p. 2

28 ibid, p. 1

29 cf. Council of the European Union. "A SECURE EUROPE IN A BETTER WORLD - THE EUROPEAN SECURITY STRATEGY."Council of the European Union. December 12, 2003. http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cmsUpload/78367.pdf (accessed July 17, 2008), p. 6

30 SWP/WWICS, Working Group. "Balkans Politics: Different Views and Perceptions, Common Interests and Platforms?" 2nd Colloquium. Berlin, May 24, 2004.

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With A Little Help From My Friend - Foreign and Security Policy of the EU and the USA in Kosovo
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