The European Union and State Building in Fragile States (the Western Balkans)

Beginning in 2012, this project will examine the European Union’s (EU) accession policies as they relate to state and democracy building in the Western Balkans. Researchers will analyze the EU’s external involvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, with specific focus on the region’s central challenges to European integration: bringing war criminals to justice, pervasive corruption at the state level and the lack of structural security and juridical reforms. The project focuses primarily on these specific policy challenges due to their omnipresence across the region and because the European Union is directly involved in supporting reforms on these issues. Further, states across the region vary in their abilities to find more permanent institutional and policy solutions to these challenges.

Owing to lack of comparative studies of regional governance initiatives, evaluating the underlying causes of how these challenges are dealt with across the region has very important policy implications. More concretely, the research will make tangible contributions to inform policy making in the Western Balkans and will identify governance models that encourage the reform processes of integrative policies in judicial and security sectors in the region. The research findings will also serve to establish a better understanding of, and propose clearer policy recommendations for, state-building efforts in other states undergoing similar structural reforms.

Project outputs will include conference papers, articles, policy briefs and working papers.