Magazine article Europe-East

Eulex Kosovo : Mission Deployment Remains Slow and Complicated

Magazine article Europe-East

Eulex Kosovo : Mission Deployment Remains Slow and Complicated

Article excerpt

The EU's rule of law' mission (EULEX) in Kosovo is being deployed much more slowly than planned.

According to the latest information, 200 international personnel (and 50-odd local agents) are currently in Kosovo. But not all are operational. Some 150 people have only just arrived and are receiving instructions, mainly policemen and administrative personnel. In comparison to the four successive waves of arrivals planned at the start - and particularly the influx of 300-750 men between the second and third month - the plan was changed and the increase in the mission's strength could be spread over six months.

Nineteen member states have sent personnel (mainly Germany, France, UK, Italy, Austria, Sweden and Romania), but other nationalities are also represented through contracts signed directly with EULEX. In fact, "apart from the Slovaks and the Maltese, all EU nationalities - through one method or another - are present," explains an EU official.

Different factors specific to member states - availability of personnel in particular - explain this delay, but not solely. The signing of an agreement with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), particularly for UNMIK Police and Justice, a crucial point if ever there was one, has not been possible. UN officials in the province are waiting for specific instructions from New York, which are slow in coming.

The operational handover also remains confused. Though several working hypotheses have been developed to facilitate the handover from UNMIK to EULEX - progressively by geographic area or by type of activity (magistracy, police, etc) - none has been retained for the moment, and none has been implemented.

Clearly, all the parties are awaiting the 11 May deadline, the date of the Serbian elections, before they move forward. The only contributing committee, gathering five third countries' (Norway, Switzerland, Croatia, Turkey and the USA) could be created in early May. …

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