Differences in the local perception of EULEX and KFOR in their security-related tasks

Ewa Mahr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article compares the local perceptions of the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) with those of NATO's mission Kosovo Force (KFOR) and investigates the reasons for observed differences. It focuses on an oft-overlooked aspect of EULEX: its broadly defined security-related tasks. Until recently, EULEX could be seen as a prominent security actor, thanks to its robust police component and its function as a second respondent. EULEX coexists in Kosovo with KFOR; while the former is civilian and the latter military, both play complementary roles in the security realm and some of their tasks are similar. However, the local perceptions of EULEX and KFOR regarding their execution of security-related tasks have differed, with only KFOR enjoying local acceptance. This article argues that such differences are caused by the missions' differently perceived powers over local actors, as manifested through their ability to exert compliance and cooperation from local actors through coercion, the ability to offer rewards and legitimacy. By going beyond the well-researched initial gratitude of Kosovo Albanians to NATO/US for intervening in 1999, this article offers a more fine-grained analysis of Kosovo Albanian and Kosovo Serbian perceptions of EULEX and KFOR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-64
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Security
Issue number1
Early online dateSept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021


  • KFOR
  • CSDP
  • peacebuilding
  • local perceptions of crisis management
  • Kosovo


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