Regional Security and Conflict Management: An Analysis of the Effects of EU Integration Process in the Western Balkans

AuthorReina Shehi
PositionEpoka University
ISSN 2410-759X
Acces online at
Balkan Journal of Interdisciplinary Research
IIPCCL Publishing, Tirana-Albania Vol. 1 No. 3
January 2016
Regional Security and Conflict Management: An Analysis of the Effects of
EU Integration Process in the Western Balkans
Ph.D. (C.) Reina Shehi
Epoka University
This paper studies the importance of incorporating conflict management methods as
part of the Western Balkan countries security policy strategies in order to construct
long- term, sustainable peace and regional cooperation. IR mainstream theories suggest
that national security is the prior goal of each state and traditionally it has been developed
through military capabilities. However, the post 1990 era has proved the importance of
adopting soft tools in establishing security from an individual, group, regional,
international and even global aspect. The core of this study focuses on the Western
Balkan region conflicts over the 1994-2013 period.
This study’s main hypothesis is that Western Balkan states do not still have the capability
of involving conflict management methods within national security strategy frameworks
on their own due to their problematic past relations and still very high nationalistic
feelings, however they can realize it through the involvement of EU as a crucial third
party. All of the Western Balkan countries enhance the European perspective that has
been framed as the Stabilization and Association Process. Since 2003, Western Balkan
states have committed themselves officially to the regional requirements of EU that are
political and economic stability as well as regional cooperation in order to achieve long
term prosperity.
In order to test this hypothesis, all Western Balkans state behavior against disputes
with any of their regional partners from 1994 until 2013 will be analyzed and coded
under categories of conflict management theories. Conflict management theories consider
bilateral and multilateral methods to have long-term effects. Thus, the study will identify
all cases in which bilateral and multilateral methods have been applied and also look at
in how many of these cases states have done it as a requirement of the EU integration
process or through the direct involvement of EU representatives.
Keywords: Regional Security, Conflict Management, Western Balkans, EU Integration,
This paper aims to study the Western Balkans conflict management capacity and
see how they have developed it as part to their security strategy. It covers the post-
war period that signaled the dissolution of Yugoslavia and it especially focuses on
the after war conflict management process. This paper decides to focus on three
protracted conflicts. The case studies are not to generalize the conflict management
understanding of the Western Balkans but they are appropriate in offering a general
view of the process.
In order to realize it, this paper starts by introducing the reader with the main
theories that explain the protracted conflict management style. It points out that

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