Standards before Status before Accession: Kosovo’s EU Perspective

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Series Details Vol.14, No.1, March 2012, p77-92
Publication Date March 2012
ISSN 1944-8953
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Although Kosovo has been recognized by most members of the European Union, there are still five states that refuse to accept its unilateral declaration of independence.

Kosovo's ‘European perspective’ would therefore appear to be hampered by its contested status. However, this paper argues that while the dispute over its independence is significant, and certainly makes establishing relations with the EU more difficult than might otherwise have been the case, it is not as problematic as it may appear. For the meantime, Kosovo remains a long way away from meeting even the most basic requirements for formal EU integration. At this stage, the key task facing the EU is state building. Somewhat paradoxically, this has not required a united position on status.

Even in the medium term, the question of status need not be an impediment to Kosovo's EU integration in a range of areas. Even in those instances where a formal relationship needs to be established, there are ways in which this can be managed. Indeed, this paper argues that only when Kosovo is ready for full EU membership would its contested status become a wholly decisive issue for its ‘European perspective’.

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