Kosovo, together with Albania, have for many years displayed the highest level of political and popular support in the Western Balkans for European Union (EU) integration. This steadfast support happens irrespective of Kosovo’s highly complicated relations with the Union and dim prospects of EU integration any time soon. So, this chapter examines the factors behind the unwavering political and popular support for EU integration in Kosovo. It argues that EU’s highly positive perception in Kosovo can be explained by two main factors. First, Kosovo’s EU membership is widely seen as being constitutive of statehood, with the self-conception about Kosovo being closely linked to the concept of “Euro-Atlantic” integration and values. Second, the ever-growing Kosovar diaspora in the EU has become a crucial financial source for Kosovo, but also an important political and cultural bridge that connects the country with major EU member states. As a result of the fact that almost 1/3 of Kosovo’s citizens already reside/live in Europe (mostly in EU countries), the EU is commonly associated with higher economic standards, welfare benefits and freedom of movement, with most people and politicians often ignoring the challenges that EU integration entails. However, while there is a growing sense among politicians and people that the EU is unfair to Kosovo, the country lacks both alternatives and leverage that could be used to force a positive change in its relations with the Union. In sum, Kosovo’s EU membership remains highly desirable, yet impossible, at least for the time being.
|Title of host publication||Integrating the Western Balkans into the EU|
|Subtitle of host publication||Overcoming Mutual Misperceptions|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||15|
|ISBN (Print)||9783031322044, 9783031322075|
|Publication status||Published - 26 Jul 2023|
|Name||New Perspectives on South-East Europe|