26th Jun 2019

EU Kosovo mission delayed amid protests

The deployment of EULEX, the EU's police and justice mission in Kosovo, is to start on 9 December, a week later than planned, it was announced on Tuesday (2 December), as several thousand Kosovo Albanian demonstrators took to the streets of Pristina to protest against the deployment.

"We are ready, but there is some fine tuning to be settled first," Viktor Reuter, spokesperson for EULEX, told German news agency DPA in Pristina, referring to wrangling between Serbia, Kosovo, the EU and UN.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Kosovars protesting, waving both the Albanian and Kosovar flags (Photo: European Parliament)

Under a plan approved by the United Nations Security Council last week, some 2,000 EU police, justice and customs officials will take over UN duties in Kosovo.

It also foresees the EU mission being deployed under a UN mandate and take a neutral position regarding Kosovo's status – something which pleases Belgrade, but enrages Pristina.

Kosovo, which had been under UN administration since 1999, unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February this year, but Belgrade has said it would never recognise the new state and still considers it part of Serbia.

Both sides agreed last week to co-operate fully with EULEX, but Pristina still categorically opposes the elements of the plan that are neutral to its status, arguing it goes against its sovereignty.

"Lately it hasn't been easy, because legal problems had to be solved," and because of the difficulty of satisfying both Kosovars and Serbs, French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner – whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency – said on Tuesday, while adding the objective of the mission was to start "in a few days."

'EULEX made in Serbia'

Meanwhile, some 4,000 people protested in the streets of Kosovo's capital yesterday, brandishing posters with "Kosovo in the EU, not under the EU," and "EULEX made in Serbia" written on them, the BBC reports.

Protest organiser and leader of the Self-determination Movement, Albin Kurti, expressed concerns that the EU officials would "have immunity from the law," adding: "They will also be above the law".

Kosovars also fear the mission as planned will effectively partition their country, populated by 90 percent Albanians, and a minority of Serbs, mostly in the northern areas.

"For us, it is important ... to see EULEX deployed as soon as possible across [the whole of] Kosovo," President Fatmir Sejdiu said Tuesday, adding that he did not "understand the delays," DPA writes.

For his part, Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci, stressed on Monday that the EU's mission "will be meaningful only if from day one it is also installed in the northern Mitrovica" – a town divided between Kosovar Albanians in the south and Serbs in the north.

"If EULEX doesn't start in the north on the very first day, then this mission will become senseless," he added.

Another protest against EULEX took place in Pristina a week ago, while on 14 November its offices in the city were bombed.

Three Germans alleged to be agents of the German Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) were initially accused of causing the blast, but were freed last weekend.

Meanwhile, a previously unknown Albanian group calling itself the Army of the Republic of Kosovo claimed responsibility for the attack.

EU split on Western Balkans accession

Europe's credibility is at risk in the Western Balkans, half its member states have warned - but EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Albania and North Macedonia unlikely to start accession talks soon.

Tensions mount over Kosovo-Serbia deal

Serbia will never recognise Kosovo, Serbia's foreign minister has said, as the Western Balkans heads into a new period of turbulence.

News in Brief

  1. EU warns Turkey as 'Gezi Park' trials begin
  2. EU universities to share students, curricula
  3. Migrant rescue ship loses Human Rights Court appeal
  4. Denmark completes social democrat sweep of Nordics
  5. Johnson offers 'do or die' pledge on Brexit
  6. Weber indirectly attacks Macron in newspaper op-ed
  7. EU to sign free trade deal with Vietnam
  8. EU funding of air traffic control 'largely unnecessary'


EU report recognises Albania's achievements

Albania currently faces a serious crisis, which it would be foolish for all actors in the international community to ignore. Yet we must ask that our partners in Europe read Federica Mogherini's report carefully and recognise accomplishments.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  4. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  6. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  7. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  8. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  9. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate

Latest News

  1. EU moves to end car-testing 'confidentiality clause'
  2. EU parliament gives extra time for leaders on top jobs
  3. Europe's rights watchdog lifts Russia sanctions
  4. EU-Vietnam trade deal a bad day for workers' rights
  5. EU 'special envoy' going to US plan for Palestine
  6. Polish judicial reforms broke EU law, court says
  7. EU study: no evidence of 'East vs West' food discrimination
  8. Russia tried to stir up Irish troubles, US think tank says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us