Tuesday

22nd May 2018

EU mission in Kosovo to lose 450 policemen

  • Eulex current mandate in Kosovo expires on 14 June (Photo: Eulex)

Eulex, the European police mission in Kosovo, will reduce its staff by 25 to 30 percent from mid-June onward.

Speaking in Brussels on Friday (May 25), EU civilian operations commander, Hansjoerg Haber, told press the move is to prepare for Eulex' complete withdrawal.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"It is time for Kosovo to take responsibility for themselves ... Eulex needs to adapt and needs to prepare its own disengagement from Kosovo," he said.

He added that in future it will do more special investigations into organised crime, war crimes, corruption and people who are still missing after the Balkan wars.

The number of international police officers seconded to Eulex is to go down from around 1,700 to 1,250, while local staff will drop from 1,200 to 1,000. Its administrative arm will stay intact.

The staff will be drawn down over several months.

Haber did not give a date for full withdrawal. But EUobserver understands it will stay around in Kosovo in some form for at least two years.

Meanwhile, Nato soldiers will stay in place to provide hard security so long as UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution 1244 stays in force. With Serbia's ally and UNSC veto holder Russia blocking any change to Kosovo's status, this could be a long time.

The Eulex pull-back comes after what is widely regarded as an EU success story in terms of training Kosovar police and customs officials.

It is partly designed to reduce confusion. When a Vatican envoy visited Pristina last September, EUobserver saw Kosovar police, Eulex police, Nato soldiers, Vatican security, Italian security and private security guards outside the venue.

The pull-back also comes amid renewed violence between Kosovar Serbs and Kosovar Albanians in north Kosovo, however. "The north remains a problem," Haber said.

Haber's plan to concentrate on organised crime and corruption comes after criticism that it has not indicted any big fish since it started work in 2008.

Pino Arlacchi, an Italian centre-left MEP who helped create an anti-mafia taskforce in Italy, told this website in January that Eulex is "amateurish" and that it is sheltering high-level Kosovar politicians in the name of stability.

For his part, Haber on Friday defended Eulex' record in the area of war crimes. He noted that it recently added two war prosecutors and now has four in total. Eulex has obtained some 20 war crime convictions from around 80 cases since 2009, he added.

Organised crime problem dogs EU record on Kosovo

Four years after EU police came to Kosovo it has not indicted any top suspects on organised crime, posing questions about its work and the integrity of Kosovo's leaders.

Sofia summit: EU leaders search for a Trump strategy

"With friends like that, who needs enemies?" European Council Donald Tusk asked on Wednesday, as EU leaders were trying to come up with a reply to the US president's questioning of the transatlantic relationship.

Devil in detail in Macedonia name talks

Unlocking Macedonia talks could be this year's big breakthrough in EU enlargement, but the devil's in the detail of Macedonia's constitution, as Macedonian prime minister Zoran Zaev and Greek PM Alexis Tsipras meet in Sofia.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Analysis

EU has no 'magic bullet' against US Iran sanctions

EU leaders in Sofia will discuss how they can protect the bloc's economic interests against US threats to sanction companies doing business in Iran. But their options are limited.

Opinion

Ratifying CETA after 'Achmea scandal' is anti-European

While few people in Europe have heard of the 'Achmea' ruling, the case will have far-reaching consequences. Member states must understand the implications of the case quickly - especially those considering ratifying the EU-Canada trade agreement.

News in Brief

  1. Trump warns Nato allies' low budgets will be 'dealt with'
  2. Only Estonia, Greece and UK hit Nato spending target
  3. EU to start process to counter US Iran sanctions
  4. Macedonia PM sees 'possible solutions' in Greek name row
  5. EU takes six countries to court over air pollution
  6. New Catalan leader sworn in without reference to Spain
  7. Merkel and Putin revive dialogue in troubled times
  8. European companies putting Iran business on hold

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  2. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  3. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK
  4. Integration of Syrian refugees in Europe needs scrutiny
  5. Bulgarian PM: No asylum reform without stronger border
  6. Eight countries to miss EU data protection deadline
  7. Italian populists to defy EU debt rules
  8. Commission 'playing tricks' with EU budget figures