EU Rule of Law Promotion: Judiciary Reform in the Western Balkans, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

EU Rule of Law Promotion

Judiciary Reform in the Western Balkans, 1st Edition

By Marko Kmezic


186 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Do EU institutions have an influence on the implementation of the rule of law in potential candidate countries and, if so, of what kind? During the compliance monitoring process related to the effective rule of law and democracy the EU Commission tests and criticizes the effectiveness of the judiciary and strengthens the rule of law in preparation for accession. In the Western Balkans this was a process fraught with difficulties.

Despite the fact that academic scholarship and democratic politics agree on rule of law as a legitimizing principle for the exercise of state authority, there is no uniform European standard for institution-building or monitoring activities by the EU in this area. With focus on the reform of the judiciary in five case study countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, this empirical research investigates the EU's transformative power with regard to the effectiveness of rule of law and judicial sector reform in its infancy. It analyses the depth and limitations of EU rule of law promotion in the Western Balkans and presents policy recommendations intended to address the shortcomings in judiciary reform.

This book aims to fill the gap in the existing academic scholarship of EU politics, law and Western Balkans literature.

Table of Contents

Part One

1. Introduction

    South Eastern Europe in Transition

    Framing the Challenge

    Book Structure

    The Innovative and Broader Impact of the Book

2. The Elusive Essence of the Rule of Law

    The Problem of Knowledge

    Legal Bedrock: Rule of Law and Judicial Reform

    Rule of Law in the Process of EU Accession

    Rule of Law Conditionality as a Requirement for Judicial Reform

    Elusive Essence of Judicial Governance

    Concluding Analysis

3. Theory: Europeanization by Rule of Law Implementation


    Europeanization in Candidate Countries

    Europeanization by Rule of Implementation – Missing Links

4. Research Design: Cases and Methods

    The Analytical Framework

    Research Focus

    Reconceptualization of the "Spiral Theory"

    Cases and Methods

Part Two

5. Legacies of the Past as Obstacles to the EU Rule of Law Promotion


    Legacies of the Social Legal Culture

    Post-Communist Legacies

    Concluding Analysis

6. Western Balkans in the EU’s Waiting Room

    State of Play: Western or ‘Restern’ Balkans

    EU Approach to Enlargement

    Bosnia and Herzegovina





    Beyond the Autopilot Mode?

7. Judicial Reforms in the Western Balkans

    Independence of the Judiciary

    Accountability of the Judiciary

    Efficiency of the Judiciary

    Effectiveness of the Judiciary

Part Three

8. Comparative Analysis


    Measuring the Results

9. Scope, Depth and Limits of EU Rule of Law Promotion in the Western Balkans

    Does the Rule of Law Promotion in EU Candidate Countries Work?

    Mediating Factors and Constrains

    Wrong Assumptions

10. Conclusions

Theoretical Conclusions

The Way Forward: Policy Recommendations

About the Author

Marko Kmezic is a Lecturer and Senior Researcher at the Centre for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz, Austria.

About the Series

Southeast European Studies

Southeast European Studies

The Balkans are a region of Europe widely associated over the past decades with violence and war. Beyond this violence, the region has experienced rapid change in recent times though, including democratization, economic and social transformation. New scholarship is emerging which seeks to move away from the focus on violence alone to an understanding of the region in a broader context drawing on new empirical research.

The Southeast European Studies Series seeks to provide a forum for this new scholarship. Publishing cutting-edge, original research and contributing to a more profound understanding of Southeastern Europe while focusing on contemporary perspectives the series aims to explain the past and seeks to examine how it shapes the present. Focusing on original empirical research and innovative theoretical perspectives on the region the series includes original monographs and edited collections. It is interdisciplinary in scope, publishing high-level research in political science, history, anthropology, sociology, law and economics and accessible to readers interested in Southeast Europe and beyond.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / International
POLITICAL SCIENCE / World / European