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Europeanization by Rule of Law Implementation in the Western Balkans

Author(s): Marko Kmezić

Strengthening the rule of law and accession to the European Union have been fraught with difficulties in the Western Balkans for over 20 years. This book treats “Europeanization” as a politically driven process, i.e. as a way in which EU institutions, rules and policy-making processes impact the legal systems, institutional mechanisms and creation of collective cultural identity in non-EU member states. Therefore, the research question this book attempts to answer is whether EU institutions have an influence on the implementation of the rule of law in the WB and, if so, of what kind. During the monitoring process of the candidate countries' compliance with the Copenhagen conditionality criteria related to the effective rule of law and democracy principle, the EU Commission tests and criticizes the “effectiveness” of rule of law in the judiciary. Bearing this in mind, the central focus of this volume is the reform of the judiciary in five case study countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. 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. Moreover, empirical research investigating the EU's transformative power” with regard to the effectiveness of rule of law and judicial sector reform is only in its infancy. This is precisely the gap this book attempts to close.


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