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Stabilization and Progress in the Western Balkans

Proceedings of the Symposium 2010, Basel, Switzerland September 17-19


Edited By Dusan Simko and Ueli Mäder

For more than a decade, the Balkans have been a centre of crisis – armed conflicts have brought death, expulsion, destruction and untold suffering to the people. The postwar efforts of the West have failed to bring lasting stability and real progress so far.
The Symposium at Basel University was an interdisciplinary event where complex issues were elucidated by historians, geographers, sociologists and political scientists. The event enabled East and West European scholars and their American counterparts to exchange their somewhat divergent views. The speakers covered a broad range of subjects: historical causes, aspects of postwar economic and social development as well as sociocultural consequences of the democratization process. Special attention was devoted to the situation of minorities, the refugee problem and the security situation in the fragile states of the West Balkans and also to the responsibility of the EU and USA for the general stagnation in the area.
The Symposium was intended to illustrate differing interpretations of the events of the past ten years and to encourage discussion between speakers and participants at the event.


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MARIE-JANINE CALIC - International Peace Building in Semi-Independent Kosovo: Lessons Not Learned - 61


61 MARIE-JANINE CALIC International Peace Building in Semi-Independent Kosovo: Lessons (Not) Learned* In the Balkans, the international community has undertaken its most ambitious peace building and state building missions ever. Follow- ing the NATO intervention in 1999 and the establishment of the UN mission in Kosovo, the country has progressed in terms of institution building, stabilization and economic recovery. It even possesses a ‘European perspective’, namely conditional membership of the EU. Yet, despite the enormous political, military and financial support, Kosovo is still deeply divided: psychologically, socially and politi- cally. Serbia’s former southernmost province unilaterally declared its independence on 17 February 2008; however, the young state is only formally sovereign – de facto it is internationally supervised. This paper explores international peace-building efforts in Kosovo. It mainly addresses the question of whether or not the strat- egies and instruments used are really appropriate to accomplish the ambitious goal of stabilizing the country. It highlights achievements and shortcomings of international intervention so far and discusses lessons learned (and lessons not learned) from previous missions, in particular in neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina. It will be argued that basic insights from earlier peace-building efforts in the region have not been respected in Kosovo. In both countries, the large and powerful international presence tends to distort both institution build- ing and sustainable economic development and there is a striking mismatch of goals and instruments used. * Presented at the Conference Communities in Conflict: Civil Wars and their Legacies, Swansea School of Arts and Humanities in collaboration...

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