1st Edition

The European Union and Everyday Statebuilding The Case of Kosovo

By Ramadan Ilazi Copyright 2024

    This book examines the European Union’s everyday statebuilding practices, using the case of Kosovo as an example of how it uses informal practices to influence local actors.

    The objective of the book is to explain how the EU operates as a statebuilding actor in the everyday context, outside its zone of comfort. It illustrates the EU’s dynamics of dealing with the local actors through everyday practices, which are understood as informal means or practices of interaction with the local actors in the framework of three key issues of relevance for statebuilding process for the EU: rule of law, reforming public administration and resolving bilateral disputes. The book shows how the EU utilizes everyday practices to influence decision-making process on the part of the government in order to ensure a particular outcome, be that diffusing a norm or promoting its own interests; in doing so, it gives an important insight into what these interests actually are in practice. In providing an insight into how the EU works as a statebuilding actor in practice in the everyday context, it unmasks factors that facilitate the EU’s influence on other countries that it considers to be ‘ailing’, such as Kosovo, in order to secure desired behaviours, decisions, and actions on the part of the local government. It also unmasks the EU’s commitment to being an ethical actor by unearthing practices that undermine local agency, the practical intentions of the EU’s statebuilding intervention approaches, and the reality that hides behind the façade of public statements on the part of the EU and the local government. In doing so, the book provides a new way to look at the EU as a statebuilding actor.

    This book will be of interest to students of statebuilding, EU policy, Balkan politics and, International Relations.

    1. Introduction

    2. An Overview of the Literature on Statebuilding Interventions and EU Approaches

    3. EU’s Practices of Strengthening the Rule of Law in Kosovo

    4. EU’s Practices of Reforming the Public Administration

    5. EU’s Practices of Shaping the Process of Normalization of Relations Between Kosovo and Serbia

    6. Conclusion


    Ramadan Ilazi holds a PhD in Politics and International Relations from the Dublin City University (DCU) and is currently the head of research at the Kosovar Centre for Security Studies (KCSS). Previously, he was an active member of the Kosovo’s civil society and briefly served in the Kosovo government as a deputy minister for European integration (2015-16). 

    'This important and timely book on Kosovo advances our understanding of the everyday turn in statebuilding research. It does so by introducing a novel theoretical framework to study the micro-level everyday statebuilding practices with the macro-level statebuilding process. The rich empirical analysis is compelling and brings unique insights into the EU as a statebuilding actor, and into the formal and informal encounters between local government and EU representatives in the ongoing statebuilding process in Kosovo. This engaging book will have a broad readership inside and outside academia.'

    Annika Björkdahl, Lund University.

    'Although many claim to engage with and comprehend everyday statebuilding practices and dynamics, few scholars have gone as far as Dr Ilazi has with this book. The book provides an in-depth analysis of the everyday encoded technologies and networked expertise used by the EU to impose external norms and promote institutional reforms. The book is essential reading for academics and professionals interested in the politics, paradoxes, and fallacies of EU statebuilding practices.'

    Gëzim Visoka, Dublin City University

    'This book distinctively explains the role of the European Union in relation to the trajectory of statebuilding in Kosovo. It is essential reading with persuading insights that are based on Dr. Ilazi's empirical research. The book represents a superb addition to the body of knowledge and ought to benefit both academics and policymakers equally. Its insightful analysis highlights the significant difficulties the EU faces, which we can only hope will be taken into account in its future interventions.'

    Florian Qehaja, Diplomat and Security Affairs Expert