The European Council on Tuesday decided to prolong the EU's rule of law mission in Kosovo by two more years, until 2014 June 14. A budget of EUR 111 million has been allocated for the first year.
EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton welcomed the extension of the EU's
largest civilian crisis management mission for two more years. The High Representative said EULEX is doing an important and good job in supporting the rule of law in Kosovo. She urged the Kosovo authorities to make use of the EULEX expertise as the mission is adapting to changing circumstances and progress already made. In the future more and more responsibility will need to be taken over by the local authorities.
The mission mandate remains largely unchanged but following progress achieved during the past three years since EULEX reached full operational capability, and taking into account the overall development of EU-Kosovo relations, the mission will be internally reconfigured. The aim is to make the mission stronger, leaner and more efficient. As the justice sector remains the main challenge there will be a specific focus on this area.
The reconfiguration will also encompass an overall staff reduction of about 25 %. As of June 15, the authorized maximum of international staff will be 1250 and 1000 local staff down from 1950 internationals and 1200 locals. The mission will continue to mainly consist of police officers, judges, prosecutors and customs officials.
by RTT Staff Writer
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