How Effective Is the EU as a Mediator? The Case of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

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Series Details No.1, January 2017
Publication Date January 2017
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The EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies department of the College of Europe publishes a series of working papers dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the European Union’s external relations and external aspects of EU internal policies. The EU Diplomacy Papers offer a platform for debate to visiting professors, staff and students as well as external contributors.This paper aims to assess the effectiveness of the mediation endeavour of the European Union (EU) in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) since March 2015.

The analytical part of this paper rests upon the identification of EU mediation objectives as defined in documents published before and during the mediation, notably the 2015 Pržino Agreement. It draws on the work of Bergmann and Niemann which operationalises mediator effectiveness along two dimensions: goal attainment and conflict-settlement.

The factors that have – directly or indirectly – a bearing on the mediation process can be structured around four key clusters of variables: conflict context, mediator leverage, mediation strategy and coherence.

The paper finds that the mediation process in the case of FYROM has been rather effective owing to the EU's mediator strategy and its high level of coherence. However, certain factors seem to have had a constraining impact on EU mediation effectiveness: very low levels of internal cohesiveness amongst the conflict parties and hence a high proclivity to spoiler problems, as well as the waning EU leverage as a result of the lack of a firm EU membership perspective.

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Council of the European Union, November 2009: Concept on Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacities
ESO: Background information: EU and US broker early elections in Macedonia

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