Following a brief overview of the European Union's (EU) conflict management 'history', this article discusses the evolution of EU capabilities throughout the Union's involvement in the Western Balkans since the early 1990s. This is followed by a detailed case study of the EU intervention in Macedonia - Operation Concordia - and the contextual factors of that conflict, which shaped the outcomes of the EU's military efforts there. We conclude from this that the EU, alongside its partners in and beyond Macedonia, successfully prevented a likely civil war in the country in 2001, because the Union had a clearly defined set of interests, shared across institutions and member states, and interests that matched those of the main political players in Macedonia. This translated into sufficient political will to deploy sufficient military capabilities suited to the context of conflict management in Macedonia. However, we remain cautious as to whether the Union can muster similar levels of political will as well as the necessary capabilities to achieve the same elsewhere in the world.