EULEX Kosovo declared operational on December 5? Dogs included...

(BRUSSELS2) The European mission on the rule of law, “Eulex”, in Kosovo should be declared operational this Friday, December 5. The official start is scheduled for December 9 (Monday 8 is, in fact, a public holiday in Kosovo, for Eid al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice).

Initial capacity reached. 1000 international experts have already arrived in the new independent state. And more than 300 others – mainly police officers – are already present in Kosovo (at UNMIK or KFOR) and should switch to the European banner on this date. Initial operational capability (IOC) will thus be achieved. Eulex will then have more than 1400 people + 400 local agents.

Deployment to the North. Eulex should immediately be deployed throughout Kosovo, including in the North, I was assured at the EU Council. Even if all the staff cannot be immediately available, the need in the north is particularly felt for magistrates (the UNMIK mission in Mitrovica normally ends on December 3) and customs officers, responsible in particular for ensuring “Gate 1 ” and to put an end to trafficking of all kinds which could proliferate in a lawless zone. Kosovars should not oppose the deployment of this force, despite their opposition to ban ki-moon's six-point plan, the secretary general of the UN. They have, in fact, made it known on several occasions that Eulex is welcome in Kosovo.

Men…and dogs

The police force constitutes a large part of the Mission's personnel. This should have around 750 people, the majority of which will be operational. Dependent on a small command of 25 people, two large law enforcement units – forming the IPU (integrated police unit, responsible for ensuring a safe environment) and the FPU (formed police unit) –, of approximately 220 people. They will be supplemented by specialized forces: the close protection unit (CPU) – for personalities or VIPs –, the intervention unit, the witness protection unit (WSU) – a capital unit if there is one – , the mine clearance and improvised explosive device (I/EOD) service. All this, without forgetting a very special unit of the European police… the “K9” made up of around 20 people… and dogs. Trained to detect a little bit of everything (explosives, drugs, etc.).

Camps Laszlo (Pristina) and Plana (Mitrovica) as bases. The police forces will be based in two main locations. The French, joined by the Romanians (who are currently in Pec) will be stationed at the Plana camp, near Mitrovica (which already served KFOR as a helicopter base, surgical hospital and operational crowd control reserve or CRC and was before the beginning of the conflict… a rehabilitation center for delinquent children). The Italian carabinieri and the 108 Polish police officers who are arriving (here in the photo) commanded by the Lieutenant Colonel Pawel Kurowski will be stationed at Camp Laszlo (name of the Hungarian camp), near Pristina. (NB: with the guarantee of a very good canteen, run by Italians, the pizza is excellent and the pasta…).

The last blue armbands with a yellow stripe marked “EU Police” and the distinctive blue berets of civilian operations are distributed as arrivals arrive… (see the video of the visit of Yves de Kermabon, the Eulex head of mission to the Laszlo camp )


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).