The Politics of Euro-Balkan Police Cooperation in the 2000s

This article examines the political dynamics of Euro-Balkan police cooperation in the context of recent Balkan history. In the existing scholarship, the process of the ‘externalisation’ of EU-wide law enforcement cooperation outside the Union's geographic frontiers is widely considered to be a ‘functional-instrumental’ response to the menace of organised crime. Scholars believe that the functional rationale has been a primary driver behind the Union's endeavours to extend its governance of internal security to the EU's core strategic neighbourhood of the Western Balkans. Perceived in EU political discourse as a ‘stronghold’ of organised crime, in the 2000s this region acted as a major site for the Union's counter-crime initiatives. However, more detailed examination of the EU’s internal security collaboration in the Western Balkan region against the contrasting dynamics of organised crime reveals that Euro-Balkan cooperative initiatives were not functionally-, but rather politically-driven par excellence. In this article, the crucial period of 1999/2000-2010, when collaboration on internal security issues with the Western Balkan partners assumed major significance for the EU, is examined as an example of how political factors have been major triggers of the Union's anti-crime police cooperation with its Balkan neighbourhood.

Olga Kantokoski

Olga Kantokoski

Olga Kantokoski is a post-doctoral researcher at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Helsinki. She holds PhD degree in world politics from the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. She is part of Professor Judith Pallot’s research project sponsored by the Academy of Finland: “The Yugoslavian Penal Nationalism and the Politics of Punishment in the Contemporary Western Balkans: Testing the Limits of the European Human Rights Regime in the EU's Southeastern Neighbourhood”.

1.What was the role of the Western Balkan organized crime phenomenon in shaping the European-wide internal security dynamics in the 2000s?
2.How did politics-related factors affect the dynamics of Euro-Balkan police cooperation in the period of 2000s?
3.Why is “functional approach" unable to provide a credible explanation of the evolution of the external dimension of the EU's internal security governance?

Bechev, Dimitar. 2011. Constructing South-Eastern Europe. The Politics of Balkan Regional Cooperation. UK: Palgrave Macmillan. Wolff, Sarah, Wichmann, Nicole, and Mounier, Gregory (eds). 2010.
The External Dimension of Justice and Home Affairs: A Different Security Agenda for the European Union? London and New York: Routledge. Trauner, Florian. 2011.
The Europeanisation of the Western Balkans: EU Justice and Home Affairs in Croatia and Macedonia. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press.


Southeastern Europe