The EU decides to launch the EULEX Kosovo Mission
Press release 53/2008
18 February, 2008
On 15 February the Council of the European Union decided to launch EULEX Kosovo, the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo. For the operation, certain tasks of UNMIK, the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, will be taken over by the EU after a transitional phase of 120 days. Until then, full responsibility rests with UNMIK. In connection with the proclamation of independence made on 17 February, Kosovo welcomed the EU operation.
EULEX Kosovo is a civilian crisis management operation under the European Security and Defence Policy. It will be the largest civilian crisis management operation for the European Union – and at the same time, for Finland – to date.
The EULEX Kosovo strength will be about 1,900 international police officers, border officials, judicial experts such as judges, prosecutors and correctional service specialists, and customs experts. In addition, about 1,100 local staff will be hired for the operation. The operation will also have a reserve of about 300 international police officers and border officials, who can be sent as additional support if needed.
The aim of the operation is to help the Kosovo authorities create an independent and multi-ethnic police, judicial, border control and customs system meeting international standards. The goal is that monitoring, mentoring and advice will strengthen the preparedness of Kosovo authorities to assume responsibility for the activities of their own institutions.
Contrary to EU civilian crisis management operations in general, the Kosovo operation also has limited executive powers. The EULEX Kosovo operation, as needed, will substitute for the Kosovo authorities in certain functions of the police, the judicial system and prosecution, correctional services, border control and customs services.
Recruiting for the operation is now in progress and about half of the experts have been selected. Among them are 44 Finns. Once recruitment has been completed and the operation begins, the total number of Finns will be about 60–70. The EU selects experts to fill specific tasks from among candidates nominated by the Member States and some non-EU countries. Depending on the task, those selected for the operation will transfer to Kosovo at five different times before the operation, during its start-up or once it is in full swing.
Additional information about the EU’s activities in Kosovo is available in English on the Internet at: http://www.eupt-kosovo.eu/new/home/eng/080216_EU_in_Kosovo_Global.pdf
Additional information: Mikko Kinnunen, Head of Unit, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 9 1605 5357; and Ministerial Adviser Esa Vanonen, Ministry of the Interior, tel. +358 9 1604 2347