Albana Rexha

Albana Rexha, PhD Researcher, South East European University, North Macedonia,


The EU and Kosovo have been engaged in a conditionality framework of relations ever since Kosovo was dissolved from Former Yugoslavia in 1999. Within the conditionality framework the EU has continuously promoted the improvement of public administration as part of its political criteria for accession. The EU did not have a specific template on how the administrations in the enlargement countries should look like; however, through SIGMA it did build a group of principles, according to which the Commission measures the progress/regress in PAR. Thus, the EU as part of its enlargement package employs the mechanism of conditionality accompanied by tools of financial assistance, advice and twinning to affect change in these countries, including our country case study Kosovo.

However, in practice public administration reform, in particular the establishment of a depoliticized, professional, and efficient civil service is not straightforward.  In transitioning democracies like Kosovo the administration is used as a tool to remain in power while controlling the recruitment, dismissal and promotion processes of civil servants and senior civil servants. This given, the cost of reforming the administration in transition democracies could be high, meaning that the political elites in power would have to give up ‘power’ and ‘influence’ for these reforms to take place. The political elites are found between their rhetoric of national priority toward joining the Union and giving ‘power’, thus paying the potential political costs of reforms.  On the ground, there is top-down down pressure coming from the EU in the form of conditionality, as well as bottom-up pressure from national stakeholders like civil society to reform the civil service.
In this battle field of players and interests, this paper observes the impact of EU conditionality toward reforming civil service in the case of Kosovo. This paper explores whether the EU mechanisms managed to replace the patronage form of recruitment and promotion in the civil service?

Keywords: Civil Service, EU Conditionality, Western Balkans, Kosovo


CITATION: Abstracts & Proceedings of SOCIOINT 2019- 6th International Conference on Education, Social Sciences and Humanities, 24-26 June 2019- İstanbul, TURKEY

ISBN: 978-605-82433-6-1