Engaging Unrecognised States in Conflict Resolution: An Opportunity or Challenge for the EU?

Unrecognised states represent a complex challenge for the EU. They are involved in conflicts that pose threats to regional stability and are associated with significant humanitarian concerns, but the ability to deal with them is hampered by their unrecognised status.

How can the EU deal with them without violating the principle of territorial integrity? This paper argues that engagement with unrecognised entities is relevant as well as a challenge for the EU: effective mediation in conflicts involving unrecognised states is undermined by the use of power-based approaches and the framework of territorial integrity. But it suggests that the resulting asymmetrical process can be addressed by enhanced partnerships with NGOs and other specialised actors. Such partnerships will allow the EU to pursue a policy of non-recognition, as well as engagement without violating the principle of territorial integrity.