'A milestone in the history of the EU': Kosovo and the EU's international role

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The Kosovo war was a decisive catalyst in the development of the EU's international security role. The escalating crisis in Kosovo confirmed that the EU was still unable to prevent, contain or end violent conflict along its own borders. This led the EU to augment both its hard and soft power through the launch of the European Security and Defence Policy and the Stabilisation and Association Process. These initiatives endowed the EU with the potential to make a distinct contribution to international conflict management. Unsurprisingly, this continuing transformation has encountered significant obstacles relating to capabilities, political will and coordination. Concerns have also been raised about how the development of a military dimension has changed the nature of EU power. However, the EU has not abandoned the core principle upon which its international role was founded, namely the need to transcend conflict. Ten years after its failings in Kosovo, the EU is assuming increasing responsibility for conflict management and becoming a more capable international security actor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-530
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Affairs
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2009


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