Kosovar Refugees and National Security

Yannis A. Stivachtis


Almost one million people have been
forced to leave Kosovo in search of a safe
place for settlement. Although it has not
been explicitly stated, the main reason that
the Balkan states, as well as those of the
Western world, are reluctant to receive
them as refugees is that they believe that
this would jeopardize their security. Some
justify this reluctance as another assertion
of the "Fortress Europe" ideal.
Approaching the subject from a comprehensive
security perspective, this article
aims to explain how and why the Kosovar
refugees may threaten, or may be perceived
to threaten, the national security of
the receiving states as well as regional and
international stability. In so doing, it
discusses some methodological problems
concerning the definition of security; it
relates refugee migration to the various
levels of security analysis; and it examines
the impact of refugee activities with
reference to the various security sectors.

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