With less than a year to go before the mandate of the EU rule-of-law mission in Kosovo expires next summer, the authorities say they are ready to run Kosovo alone.
“Kosovo has sufficient capacities to govern itself and exercise law and order, just like the other countries in the region,” Hajredin Kuci, Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, said.
“It is not our aim to kick EULEX out of Kosovo but we want to convince the EU that it [Kosovo] has met all the criteria to act and live fully on its own.”
Kuci was addressing a joint press conference with Bernd Bochard, the head of EULEX, and Samuel Zbogar, head of the EU Office in Pristina.
Kuci has already announced that the Kosovo government is preparing a strategy to take over responsibilities from the European law mission by next June, when its mandate ends.
EULEX was installed in Kosovo in 2008 and became fully operational in April 2009. In June 2012 the EU extended its mandate until June 14, 2014.
Bochard, head of EULEX, did not comment on what would follow after the mission’s mandate runs out next year.
“This is not only to me to decide, this depends on our member states and, of course, on the Kosovo institutions,” he said.
EULEX currently employs around 2,250 international and local staff, mentoring, monitoring and advising the local authorities in field of the rule of law.
The mission has executive powers in the fields of war crimes, corruption and organized crime.
With an annual budget of around 111 million euro, the mission is the largest deployed by the EU.