What lessons can EU draw from its engagement in Kosovo?

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University of Ljubljana, Centre for European Perspective (CEP) and Finnish Defence Forces International Centre (FINCENT) are currently conducting a broad research on the effectiveness of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo – EULEX.  The study is focusing on EULEX activities in building and reforming the multi-ethnic police and customs service in Kosovo since the establishment of this CSDP mission until now.

The comprehensive research in Kosovo will identify the successes and potential shortcomings in the implementation of the mission mandate with the aim of identifying progress made in the reform processes within the police and customs in Kosovo. The assessment is implemented with EULEX engagement and aims at identifying best practices, lessons learnt and drawbacks related to the EU engagement in the security sector reform activities in Kosovo.

EULEX has been the largest EU mission in the framework of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), its main working areas focusing on police, customs and judiciary. For collecting relevant information and for hearing all sides that are in any way influenced by the work of the mission, research team from CEP, University of Ljubljana and FINCENT visited Kosovo and conducted almost 40 interviews with several stakeholders, namely representatives of EULEX, KFOR, UNMIK, local Kosovo institutions (police and customs) as well as NGOs and individuals working in the northern Kosovo. Confronting all perspectives is essential for the research findings, which can be used to increase the efficiency of EU future actions.

As part of the research the IECEU team was pleased to meet with the EULEX Head of Mission, Gabriele Meucci and Head of the European Union Office in Kosovo/European Union Special Representative in Kosovo, Samuel Žbogar. They both very constructively shared their opinions related to the complexity of EU’s engagement in Kosovo, management of a large CSDP mission with diverse nationalities, EULEX progress in the last eight years and the environment in which the mission operates. Strengthening of Kosovo police and customs are good examples of efficient transfer of EU expertise based on productive cooperation with the local intuitions. Research team has been conducting additional interviews also with the EU representatives in Brussels.

Roundtable on the topic of EU engagement in the CSDP framework in B&H and Kosovo will be organised in Slovenia on 24 May 2016 and Research findings will be published in the autumn issue of the CEP Journal European Perspectives and also on the IECEU website.