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The EULEX Kosovo mission: not efficient enough! The “limited” Kosovar state (Court of Auditors)

(BRUSSELS2) European Union aid to Kosovo, particularly in the form of its Rule of Law Assistance Mission (EULEX), is not sufficiently effective in its fight against organized crime and corruption , estimated the European Court of Auditors in a report that it has just published. While the most important civilian mission of the European Union celebrated its 3rd anniversary last April, the Court of Auditors notes that “although the EU has contributed to capacity building (…) assistance provided in the areas of policing and justice has resulted in only modest successes". In short, the level of organized crime and corruption remains high. Especially since Kosovo remains the world's main beneficiary of European aid. The European Union paid 212,70 million euros in 2011; 1212 million euros in five years have been spent.

A lack of political will from the Kosovars

Political interference, lack of efficiency and transparency, as well as the non-enforcement of the law, are the red threads of the report. To which are added a capacity " limitée » of national authorities in the protection of witnesses and the difficulties in reinstalling them abroad. As for the North of the country, the results are “almost zero”. Since 2008, no local judge has been able to work there. Regular blockages on the roads complicate the mobility and the task of European forces. Local courts still judge there according to Serbian law, even if these are contested by Pristina. At the source of all these evils, the members of the Court of Auditors denounce first and foremost a lack of political will, but also weak financial capacities and a civil society that is too inconspicuous. For Gijs de Vries, in charge of the report and former coordinator of EU anti-terrorism policy between 2004 and 2007, “the Kosovo authorities do not pay enough attention to the rule of law". Several proven cases have shown that, due to a lack of political will, little or nothing has been done to coordinate the Kosovar police forces with the judicial authorities. Explicit example, there is no common database for the two entities. As a result, one does not know when the other is carrying out investigations, and vice versa. But the fault also comes from Brussels.

A lack of coordination of European structures

The Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) are singled out. Mission objectives and needs may not have been properly assessed during the planning phase. Even today, the lack of coordination between the Commission and the mission distracts from possible more substantial progress, explains the report. The report also highlights human shortcomings. Member States would not have sent enough personnel and would have sent them for periods that were too short. The report shows that European judges are too absorbed in their executive work as judges to be able to allocate sufficient time to rebuilding judicial capacity. Some of them would also not be sufficiently qualified.

Membership incentive not working

Unlike other Balkan countries, the membership incentive is not working as it should in Kosovo. The absence of a common European position with regard to the recognition of the country condemns the Kosovar authorities not to “take the bait”. The members of the Court of Auditors therefore propose to play on the liberalization of visas, by focusing first of all on the priority points. The appointment of more judges, for example. The Commission and EULEX had recommended certain people to legal positions in the country. Once again, due to a lack of determination on the part of the Kosovar government, 28% of the positions remained vacant since 31 of the potential candidates were never appointed by the government.

Have a more conditional diplomacy

In general, the dialogue between all European bodies and Kosovo should necessarily keep in mind the consolidation of the rule of law in the country, like the policy of “structural dialogue on the rule of law” put forward. in place at the political level last spring. And the EU could benefit from more conditional diplomacy in its dealings with Kosovo. For example, the Court recommends insisting at the political level for a simplification of the country's judicial bodies. Currently, 3 anti-corruption entities overlap without any of the three having any real power. The Court of Auditors also recommends that the EEAS already work on an exit strategy for the EULEX mission. Finally, for the Court, it would be good to provide the EU missions deployed within the framework of the PeSDC with legal personality.

It should be noted, however, that the Court's report recognizes substantial results with regard to the work of national customs.

Download the report of the Court of Auditors

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