Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/kosovo: Ministers Warned of Rising Funding Needs

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/kosovo: Ministers Warned of Rising Funding Needs

Article excerpt

Talks are now supposed to get under way on the thorny problem of the UN-administered province's status. Its majority ethnic Albanians favour independence but this is resisted by Serbia.

The Rehn/Solana paper signals that substantial financing will be required to ensure the viability and sustainability of a Kosovo status settlement. Asked about precisely how much, Mr Rehn replied that it was too early to say. A needs assessment was being carried out and sources of financing explored, for example with the World Bank.

He did indicate that future financial needs would include the EU presence as well as Kosovo's debt and economic development. He mentioned that the international presence alone currently cost some euro 300 million every year, of which the EU budget contributed euro 25 million.

"If there is an exit strategy of the United Nations and a phasing in strategy of the European Union, we will have more financial responsibilities than this 25 million euro", Mr Rehn explained. He said he hoped this would be taken into account in member states' vexed talks on the EU's finances for 2007-2013.

"We need sufficient resources for external relations to carry out our responsibilities in South-East Europe and in the wider world", the Finn remarked.

Police/rule of law mission?

Speaking before the December 12 meeting, Commissioner Rehn said the EU could be expected to have a leading civilian role in Kosovo in future, but the current UN administration (UNMIK) should not be replaced by an "EUMIK": in other words, Kosovo should not become an EU protectorate. …

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