The Gatekeepers of Statehood: The European Union and the Recognition of States

12. Gëzim Visoka and Edward Newman (forthcoming) The Gatekeepers of Statehood: The European Union and the Recognition of States, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

Although a great deal is known about the role of the United Nations in the recognition of states, less is known about the practice of state recognition by regional organisations, such as the European Union. This is a significant gap in the existing literature which has not been substantively tackled either by state recognition or European foreign policy scholars. Since the early 1990s, the EU has taken a stance on 37 state-like entities seeking recognition. The EU has granted collective recognition to 26 states, it has withheld collective recognition from nine self-proclaimed states, and left it to its members to decide on a national policy in two specific cases. Yet, our knowledge on the EU’s response to state recognition is fragmented: existing studies generally focus on the EU’s response and involvement in individual cases, thus lacking a more comprehensive and overarching explanation of the policies and responses to state creation and recognition and the norms which shape these processes. This book will be the first comprehensive and ground-breaking study of the EU’s engagement with the politics of international recognition, as a key example of the impact of regional organisations in this area. It seeks to examine the capacity, determinants, and practices of the EU in relation to state recognition. Our overarching argument is that the EU’s practice of state recognition is based on a complex balance between internal and external considerations, which expose tensions between the EU’s constitutive principles and the geopolitical realities it faces. By looking at the internal and external determinants of the EU’s response to state recognition our book will show that the EU has in place a substantial and growing capacity to initiate and coordinate a shared response to secession and state recognition. The book is aimed at advanced students, researchers, and policy-makers working on state recognition, European foreign policy, and the diplomatic practice of regional organisations. 

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