Blog AnalysisBalkansMissions Operations

ESDP. The Kosovo “rule of law” mission ready to deploy

(B2 – archives) The 27 Defense Ministers welcomed, on November 19, the progress made by the ESDP mission to prepare for the rule of law.

The first large-scale civilian mission

With 1800 people, the European civilian mission which will be deployed in Kosovo will be the first of this scale. It should include around 1800 people: 1400 police officers - including 4 to 500 on call to maintain order (“which for all of Kosovo is not huge”) –, 200 to 300 magistrates and lawyers responsible for contributing to the rule of law, and a small customs unit (about 15 people). Full deployment should take place within 120 days of the official launch of the operation, in five successive waves starting on D-Day. “It takes a little time: uniforms, cars, laptops, a whole series of practical things to put in place” explains an expert on the matter.

A launch decision ready 

The preparatory documents — the crisis management concept (CMC), the concept of operations (CONOPS) and the operation plan (OpPlan) — are ready, considering several eventualities, and can be adapted quickly at the last minute ". If there is a political will, the decision to launch the operation can therefore be taken quickly » we say to the preparatory team. A question still outstanding is that of the status of Kosovo, and therefore of the legal basis of the operation: agreement of the two parties (Serbian and Kosovar), new UN resolution or official request of the new self-proclaimed government of Kosovo?

Around XNUMX people – from most of the Member States – are already present in Kosovo to prepare for the deployment, reinforced by around XNUMX local agents, ie XNUMX people in total, under the leadership of the Danish diplomat Casper Klynge. NB: Only Cyprus, Estonia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia are, for the moment, not represented.

Staff almost provided

Already, pre-generations of force have been operated. And according to the officials of the team, the first answers are satisfactory. The last deadline, November 16, made it possible to verify this. The workforce is more or less provided, coming from several Member States as well as from third countries. Should also participate in the mission: Swiss, Norwegians, Canadians, New Zealanders and Americans. If this last option is confirmed, it will be the “ first time “, it is estimated in Brussels, that Americans will be under European command in a civilian crisis management operation.

While the Kosovo authorities and police (KPS) will be on the front line, the European mission will have a significant role on several levels — the fight against high crime and the mafias, war crimes, in particular, as well as reinforcement for the preserve the order.

A mission under the orders of the Frenchman De Kermabon

The ESDP mission will last two years, renewable, and will be placed under the command of the French general returned to civilian life, Yves de Kermabon. It will be deployed alongside the International Civil Office, responsible for providing administrative and economic support to the Kosovar authorities. Both entities being under the control of the special representative of the EU and the international community. It is the Dutchman Pieter Feith, currently deputy director at the Council for the ESDP, who is the expected candidate.

A situation under control

Regarding the risks of slippage, if we are very aware of the difficulties of the mission, on the European side, we also contest the idea of ​​a vacuum. “UNMIK remains in place and should only disengage when the EU force is at full capacity (i.e. on the 121st day). There will need to be good EU-UNMIK cooperation if there are problems. In addition, we still have the 16.000 men of KFOR, who still remain there. »

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

article published in Europolitique on 20 November 2007 and supplemented by B2

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).