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Towards EU Negotiations: A Moment of Opportunity for the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities in Kosovo?

  • Margareta Matache (a1), Jacqueline Bhabha (a1) and Carrie Bronsther (a2)

In the context of an ongoing Kosovo Government agenda promoting European Union accession, this paper examines the impact of two transitions – the post-conflict period and the current EU dialogue and negotiations – on the country’s Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities. The paper discusses the social and political dynamics of these two transitions and how they affect the status of the minority communities. It examines the role of intergovernmental and non-profit organizations in advancing protection measures (e.g. by pressing for the elimination of school segregation) and accelerating implementation of important infrastructure projects (as a prelude to national scale up). The paper compares the standards invoked by the Kosovar Government to those used by other European countries in the prelude to accession. It considers whether the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian political leadership are effectively leveraging the political momentum attached to the protection of minority rights, given that this is a central precondition for EU accession. The paper concludes that the current moment offers a unique window of opportunity to the minority communities, but one that will be squandered if minority community divisions and sectional interests continue, as at present, to compound EU policy implementation failures and thereby impede the path towards a multicultural Kosovo. By contrast, the minority community leadership could take advantage of the Kosovar Government’s interest in demonstrating its future membership bona fides by making a determined and joint effort to press for substantive minority rights protections through a unified platform. The paper suggests examples for development of such a platform.

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9. C. Van Der Borgh and L. Lassance (2013) Parallel governance and boundary strategies in Gracanica, Kosovo. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 19(2), Available at:

37. J. Ker-Lindsay and S. Economides (2012) Standards before Status before Accession: Kosovo’s EU perspective. Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 14(1), pp. 7792. Available at:

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European Review
  • ISSN: 1062-7987
  • EISSN: 1474-0575
  • URL: /core/journals/european-review
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