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The European Union Police Mission: The Beginning of a New Future for Bosnia and Herzegovina?

Collantes-Celador, G. (2007). The European Union Police Mission: The Beginning of a New Future for Bosnia and Herzegovina?. Barcelona Institute of International Studies, ISSN 1886-2802.


The creation, reform and/or restructuring of the police in post-conflict societies remains one of the key challenges for practitioners and scholars in the contemporary fields of peace and security, particularly due to the changing nature of conflicts. Since the 1990s the world has witnessed a proliferation of international police missions, with regional organisations gradually acquiring a prominent role. This paper analyses the 2003-2005 period of the European Union Police Mission (EUPM) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Much is at stake in this mission, both in terms of the development of the EU´s external identity but also for Bosnia and Herzegovina's road to EU membership and sustainable peace. This paper will argue that by 2005 the balance sheet was mixed. EUPM fell short of fulfilling its overall goal of 'Europeanising' Bosnian police services, and of its desire to be seen as providing that additional ingredient in police matters that would set it apart from the earlier UN mission. Nevertheless, despite its shortcomings, the Mission did not merit the harsh criticisms it was faced with. Its lack of success was not entirely the Mission's doing. The paper focuses on three aspects: political and economic viability and sustainability, security levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and institution and capacity building. The explanatory framework used in this paper is based on the democratic policing discourse. In doing so the argument developed here will also shed light on the nature of so-called “best European practices” in police matters.

Publication Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Publisher Keywords: European Union, United Nations, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Police Reform, Security, Institution Building, Capacity Building, Local Ownership, Sustainability
Subjects: J Political Science
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
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