A new EPC and GLPS Discussion Paper released ‘Kosovo’s EU candidate status: a goal within reach?’

Group for Legal and Political Studies (GLPS) in cooperation with the European Policy Centre (EPC) have jointly published a Discussion Paper entitled: “Kosovo’s EU candidate status: a goal within reach?” Ever since its declaration of independence in 2008, Kosovo has made European integration one of its key foreign policy objectives. Having made headway over the past years in its efforts to draw nearer to the European Union – most recently by signing a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU – Kosovo is now eager to take the next step in its EU integration process: to apply for EU membership and receive candidate status. However, with five member states still unwilling to recognise its statehood, Kosovo finds itself in a unique and difficult position regarding its eligibility to advance towards the EU and eventually accede to the European Union. This Discussion paper argues that the absence of a common position among the member states on Kosovo’s status does not prevent the EU from substantial engagement with Kosovo. The legal obstacles facing Kosovo’s bid for candidate status may be surmountable. Article 49 of the Treaty on the European Union, which prima facie seems to impose a condition that Kosovo is unable to meet – that is, being qualified as a “state” – does not in fact require or entail Kosovo’s recognition as a state by the European Union, seeing that the Treaties do not foresee such a competence for the EU. Furthermore, Kosovo’s SAA seems to endorse a legal European perspective for the entity and may have already set a legal precedent that Kosovo could invoke in order to continue to strengthen its contractual relations with the Union. To access the Discussion Paper, please click here.