Regional integration and conflicts in Europe from the 1950s to the twenty-first century
Author: Boyka Stefanova

This book is about the European Union's role in conflict resolution and reconciliation in Europe. Ever since it was implemented as a political project of the post-World War II reality in Western Europe, European integration has been credited with performing conflict-resolution functions. The EU allegedly transformed the long-standing adversarial relationship between France and Germany into a strategic partnership. Conflict in Western Europe became obsolete. The end of the Cold War further reinforced its role as a regional peace project. While these evolutionary dynamics are uncontested, the deeper meaning of the process, its transformative power, is still to be elucidated. How does European integration restore peace when its equilibrium is broken and conflict or the legacies of enmity persist? This is a question that needs consideration. This book sets out to do exactly that. It explores the peace and conflict-resolution role of European integration by testing its somewhat vague, albeit well-established, macro-political rationale of a peace project in the practical settings of conflicts. Its central argument is that the evolution of the policy mix, resources, framing influences and political opportunities through which European integration affects conflicts and processes of conflict resolution demonstrates a historical trend through which the EU has become an indispensable factor of conflict resolution. The book begins with the pooling together of policy-making at the European level for the management of particular sectors (early integration in the European Coal and Steel Community) through the functioning of core EU policies (Northern Ireland).

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Unmet expectations
Boyka Stefanova

This chapter presents a case study on the European Union's (EU) influence on the intercommunal conflict in Cyprus. It provides an overview of the conflict and maps out integration strategies implemented over the course of the EU–Cyprus relationship. It traces the early stages of Association Agreement in 1973, EU accession in 2004 and the resumption of intercommunal talks in 2008. This chapter argues that the null hypothesis on the EU's involvement in the Cyprus conflict, associating its impacts on conflict resolution with only marginal or random effects can be rejected.

in The Europeanisation of conflict resolution
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Boyka Stefanova

This chapter sums up the key findings of this study on the role of European integration in peace and conflict resolution. It presents an argument about the potential of the concept of Europeanisation and the governance perspective in European Union studies to explain the effects of European integration on conflicts. It suggests that the historical pattern of the Europeanisation of conflict resolution is political in nature. This chapter also discusses the implications of the empirical findings for the theoretical debates in EU studies and international conflict resolution.

in The Europeanisation of conflict resolution
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Boyka Stefanova

This introductory chapter explains the objective of this volume, which is to explore the peace and conflict resolution role of European integration by testing its somewhat vague, albeit well-established, macro-political rationale of a peace project in the practical settings of conflicts. It examines how the European Union is causally important for conflict resolution by using analytical tools specific to integration studies, drawing upon theories and frameworks explaining the modus operandi of European integration. This volume argues that European integration as a peace project cannot be explained by macro-level theories as they tend to prioritise individual aspects of the phenomenon leaving aside the potential interaction effects of these attributes. It provides case studies of conflict resolution related to the Franco-German relationship, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Kosovo/Serbia conflict.

in The Europeanisation of conflict resolution
Theory and framework
Boyka Stefanova

This chapter considers Europeanisation as a construct of middle-range theorising. It examines the scope, causal processes and outcomes of Europeanisation with a particular emphasis on the implications for model-building. It describes the Europeanisation of conflict resolution as a non-traditional area of Europeanisation related to the capacity of European Union policies and discourses to alter or subsume the organisational logic of the process and induce behavioural change on behalf of the conflict parties. This chapter also outlines the important stages in the Europeanisation of conflict resolution.

in The Europeanisation of conflict resolution
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European integration as a system of conflict resolution in the Franco-German relationship (1950–63)
Boyka Stefanova

This chapter presents a case study concerning the application of regional integration as a system of conflict resolution in the example of the Franco-German relationship of the 1950s. It traces early attempts to break the cycle of punitive peace between France and Germany, and analyses the meaning of Europeanisation during the 1950s as a strategy of peace-building accomplished through joint policy-making in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the institutionalisation of a customs union through the European Economic Community (EEC). This chapter also highlights the significance of Europeanisation for domestic political pluralism and for the politicisation of economic interdependence.

in The Europeanisation of conflict resolution
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Europeanisation in the making
Boyka Stefanova

This chapter presents a case study on Europeanisation effects in the context of a failed, or non-negotiated, settlement as in the case of the Kosovo/Serbia conflict. It analyses the European Union's (EU) involvement in the conflict since 1990 and discusses the EU integration strategy for the Western Balkans. The analysis reveals weak direct effects but a strong positive association between the EU influences and the institutional dynamic of the conflict resolution process, measured as political change and reform in Serbia and progress in state-building in Kosovo. This chapter contends that despite significant limitations, the EU has become an indispensable agent of conflict resolution in Kosovo.

in The Europeanisation of conflict resolution
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Europeanisation breakthrough
Boyka Stefanova

This chapter presents a case study on the role of the European Union (EU) in the conflict resolution of Northern Ireland. It describes the incremental nature of establishing a role for European integration in the conflict resolution process through policy tools, resources and political opportunities and analyses the role of EU institutions in inducing change in the domestic political opportunity structure conducive to intercommunal reconciliation. The analysis reveals that European integration has produced significant long-term transformative effects by enhancing communication, societal interaction and interest disaggregation.

in The Europeanisation of conflict resolution