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A Relationship in Limbo: Challenges, Dynamics and Perspectives of Kosovo’s Integration into NATO

Abstract

Since its declaration of independence Kosovo has clearly postured itself towards Euro-Atlantic integration with NATO, keeping its door open towards Western Balkan states. This integration process faces major challenges stemming from different dimensions: NATO’s internal unity and its stance towards Kosovo’s political status having direct impact in consensual decision making processes; current geopolitical tensions from a global perspective, particularly between the West and Russia; and Kosovo’s ability to fulfil NATO’s standards and criteria. These challenges might prove very difficult to overcome at least in the current global political and security environment. The objective of this paper is to discuss from legal and geopolitical perspectives the relations between Kosovo and NATO and the challenges, dynamics and perspective of NATO opening a formal integration process for Kosovo.

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Political Criteria vs. Political Conditionality: Comparative analysis of Slovenian and Croatian European Union accession processes

Abstract

This study analyses the differences in content and procedure in the application of political criteria and political conditionality in the EU accession processes of Slovenia and Croatia. The article ascertains that with regard to substance, the Commission and EU member states did apply political criteria more extensively and meticulously to Croatia in comparison to Slovenia, but mainly due to the difference in the states’ initial assessment of preparedness for EU membership and the application of the principle of own merits. Empirical results, however, show that the differences in political conditionality did not only stem from Croatia’s post-conflict conditions, but also from the EU’s experience of the 2004 and 2007 enlargements and the concern about the EU’s absorption capacity. As for the accession process procedure, the latter has increasingly empowered the Commission rather than EU member states, which bears relevance for future (Western Balkans) enlargements

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The Struggle of Benchmarking and Ranking Gender Equality: The Case of the European Institute for Gender Equality

Abstract

The aim of this article is to explore the conceptualisation of benchmarking, ranking and good practice sharing tools within European Union gender equality policymaking. In the first part, the article looks at these soft law measures applied within intergovernmental cooperation. Stemming from the extensive body of literature, the study approaches these measures as a form of scientific knowledge, which is diversely applied within policymaking. Next, the article directs various points of criticism at these policymaking tools through different variables that may hinder knowledge use. The second section of this article further focuses on the Open Method of Coordination and the role of the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) in relation to gender equality policies. The empirical part of this article is focused on the criticism of EIGE’s External Evaluation Report and the different conceptualisations of scientific knowledge use which are presented within this audit document. As such, this article aims to contribute to a new conceptualisation of the technocratic tools of benchmarking, ranking and good practice sharing within the highly ideological area of gender equality policies.

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Same Old (Macro-) Securitization? A Comparison of Political Reactions to Major Terrorist Attacks in the United States and France

Abstract

After the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, the French government reacted swiftly by declaring a state of emergency. This state of emergency remained in place for over two years before it was ended in November 2017, only after being replaced by the new anti-terror legislation. The attacks as well as the government’s reactions evoked parallels to 9/11 and its aftermath. This is a puzzling observation when taking into consideration that the Bush administration’s reactions have been criticized harshly and that the US ‘War on Terror’ (WoT) was initially considered a serious failure in France. We can assume that this adaption of the discourse and practices stems from a successful establishment of the WoT macro-securitization. By using Securitization Theory, we outline the development of this macro-securitization by comparing its current manifestation in France against the backdrop of its origins in the US after 9/11. We analysed securitizing moves in the discourses, as well as domestic and international emergency measure policies. We find extensive similarities with view of both; yet there are differing degrees of securitizing terrorism and the institutionalisation of the WoT in the two states. This suggests that the WoT narrative is still dominant internationally to frame the risk of terrorism as an existential threat, thus enabling repressive actions and the obstruction of a meaningful debate about the underlying problems causing terrorism in the first place.

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