Volume 14 (2009) / Issue 1
On 1 December 2005, the EU deployed its Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM), an innovative concept merging border monitoring and capacity–building. The improvised launch of the mission reflected the urge to put it in place against all odds and despite the presence of many practical obstacles. The hectic beginnings of the mission similarly reflected the impromptu character of the enterprise. Yet at present EUBAM has come to be seen as a fully fledged success story and a showcase for the EU’s constructive engagement with its Eastern neighbours. The mission exceeded the expectations placed upon it at the time of the inception. To such an extent are the mission’s achievements taken for granted that it is no longer an eligible case for routine inventories of successful project implementation used as public relations material by the EU and EC: it is simply too obvious. This contribution seeks to trace and unpack this ‘path to glory’. It enquires into the pre–history of the mission and follows its ambiguous institutional background. Through analysis of the mission’s development so far it tries to map EUBAM’s role in, and impact on, the regional situation. Grasping the mission’s position and positioning, it also aims to put the project in context and pinpoint lessons, if not necessarily learned, then at least identified at this point. Some of them may question the received wisdom of EUBAM as immaculate in conception and implementation.
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