Kosovo Extends EU Mission Mandate to 2014

Parliament on Friday voted overwhelmingly to extend the mandate of the EU’s rule of law mission for another two years.The Kosovo parliament on Friday extended the mandate of the EU’s rule of law mission to Kosovo, known as EULEX, until June 2014.

With 97 votes for, and 11 against, MPs adopted a law tabled a day earlier by the government, which represents the first bilateral agreement between the European Union and Kosovo.The EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Catherine Ashton, and Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga earlier exchanged letters through which Brussels accepted the invitation to continue the EULEX mandate.

EULEX was launched in June 2008, under the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, to assist and support the authorities with the rule of law, namely the judiciary, police and customs services.

Since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, 89 states, including 22 EU member states, have recognized the country.

At Friday’s session of parliament, lawmakers also adopted a set of 22 constitutional amendments, which terminate the era of internationally supervised independence .

The International Steering Group, a group of 25 states that has overseen Kosovo since it declared independence from Serbia in 2008, announced on July 2 that Kosovo would become fully independent in September 2012.

The provisions deal with the exclusive powers that the International Civilian Representative had under the so-called Ahtisaari plan

In the vote, 98 MPs voted for, 11 against and two abstained.

Kosovo Serb, Turkish, Bosnian and Roma deputies all voted in favour of the changes, but the opposition Self-Determination Movement lawmakers voted against, claiming that the changes do not in fact end Kosovo’s supervised independence.

The draft law adopted on Wednesday regulates the issue of the immunity of EULEX personnel and office, the office of the EU Special Representative and the issue of appointing European judges and prosecutors.

Parliament is to hold a solemn session on Monday marking the end of the era of supervised independence and declaring Kosovo fully independent of international oversight.

Among those expected to take part are the Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Martti Ahtisaari and the rest of the team that drew up the plan that led to Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

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