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Kosovo: Europe deploys 2000 police and magistrates

(BRUSSELS2) “It is the most important act that we have been able to do. And we were united for that”. This is how Dimitrij Rupel, the Slovenian Minister for Foreign Affairs, who currently chairs the European Union, commented, on February 18, on the “rule of law” mission that Europe has decided to launch in Kosovo.

An operation exceptional in its scope. More than 2000 police officers, magistrates, customs officers will take charge of a territory as large as one or two French departments. They will have
task of "assisting" the institutions of Kosovo in the search for stability, by "developing and strengthening a 'multi-ethnic' and 'independent' system of justice, police and customs. A special unit of around 500 men, notably made up of French gendarmes and Italian carabinieri, will more specifically be responsible for crowd control. Gradually, they will thus replace the personnel deployed under the colors of the UN since 1999. The official passing of the torch – between Europe and the UN – should take place on 15 June next.

The mandate of this mission will be very broad, wider than any European mission has ever had. It gives, in fact, the right in certain situations to its commander, the French general Yves de Kermabon, to review or cancel the decisions of the institutions of Kosovo. In fact, the new independent state will be placed under European supervision, not to say guardianship.

The unit of 27 – praised by the Slovenian minister – is not just a diplomatic facade. All Member States have, in fact, approved this mission and will participate in it, including those most reluctant to independence (Cyprus, Spain, Slovakia, Romania, etc.). Only Malta will be lacking, in fact mainly for reasons of numbers. Switzerland and Turkey have also announced their participation, as has the United States. Which is also a first: seeing Americans under the command of a blue banner with stars has never really happened!

(NGV)

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).