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Title: Unity, efficiency and perceptions : the European Union interventions in Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014)
Author: Romano, Milena
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 9693
Awarding Body: University of Bath
Current Institution: University of Bath
Date of Award: 2019
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Over the past decades, the European Union (EU) has projected itself as an international actor that, among its aims, considers the resolution of conflicts in its neighborhood as a very important portion of its foreign policy. And yet, this organisation continues to encounter great resistance by several actors in the international arena. This thesis examines the strategies of conflict resolution put in place by the EU in Georgia (2008) and Ukraine (2014): this is to understand what tools the Union adopted, why, and what factors hampered the organisation's exercise of its actorness. The thesis does so by adopting the liberal-institutional approach to international relations, and especially its focus on interdependence and non-military strategies to conflict resolution. This theoretical approach rests on the classification of the Georgian and Ukrainian conflicts as hybrid wars. In fact, these wars, it is argued, respond negatively to coercive means of diplomacy. For this reason the thesis argues that the EU is particularly well situated, ideologically and structurally, to address them. Through the methodological lenses of comparative analysis, qualitative content analysis, and elite interviews, the thesis focuses on both factual realities and narratives to understand the crucial role of the EU's missions in Georgia and Ukraine. The comparative moment of the thesis aims at identifying the overall approach of the European Union to conflicts arising in its neighborhood and the main obstacles that hampered it. This thesis focuses especially on the initial moment of the EU's engagement in the two scenarios, exemplified by the fact that the analysis of the deployment of the EUMM and EUAM missions focuses on the first 12 to 18 months of operations. This decision was made in order to isolate the initial rational process that led to the formulation of specific policies in the two contexts by the EU, as well as indicating what factors delegitimised the Union from the beginning. The findings of the analysis indicate that the EU has adopted similar strategies in Georgia and Ukraine. These have included various tools of soft diplomacy, such as the European Neighborhood Policy, the EU Monitoring Mission and EU Advisory Mission, and the development of programs of financial aid in the two countries. These strategies are, on one side, in line with the liberal-institutionalist approach to conflict resolution that focuses on the creation of spaces of intersubjective dialogue among parties and on the promotion of incentives for the cessation of hostilities. On the other, they reflect the normative nature of the EU that, despite the various interests of its members in Georgia and Ukraine, operated as an actor tasked with the spread of values associated with liberal-institutionalism as an ideology. In this sense, the thesis confirms the idea that the EU is an international normative actor that attempts at keeping peace in its neighborhood through means of softdiplomacy. However, the thesis finds that the ability of the European Union to deliver on these prospects has been greatly hampered by two factors: first, while the EU enjoyed horizontal coherence in the two scenarios (for example, the policies implemented did not contradict one the other), it lacked vertical coherence. This means that the different positions of its members, mainly related to their economic ties with Georgia and Ukraine and to their stances towards an expansionist Russia, undermined the EU's actorness in foreign policy. Second, the Union itself has, through its diplomatic tools, antagonised Russia. This led the Kremlin to perceive the organization as a threat and de facto impeded the creation of a truly comprehensive dialogue among all the parties involved in the Georgian and Ukrainian conflicts.
Supervisor: Engeli, Isabelle ; Galbreath, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: European Union ; international relations