EU rule of law mission in Kosovo criticised
by Daniel Mason
European Union support for Kosovo in the field of the rule of law has been insufficient despite the newly independent state being the largest per capita recipient of EU financial aid in the world, a report has concluded.
"Progress in improving the rule of law is slow, particularly with regard to the fight against organised crime and corruption, above all in the north of Kosovo," the European Court of Auditors said in its assessment, published today. It warned that EU assistance had had only "modest successes" – with organised crime and corruption still high and the judiciary still suffering from political interference, inefficiency and a lack of transparency.
Between 2007 and 2011, the EU provided €1.2bn of aid to Kosovo to help with developing the rule of law. But that has made "only a modest contribution to building the capacity of the Kosovo police and little progress has been made in the fight against organised crime" according to the report.
The court blamed bad management by the European Commission and the European External Action Service, poor planning, and inadequate staffing levels at EULEX, the EU's largest ever civilian management mission.
There had been some success in the area of customs, where objectives were "largely achieved", but the report warned that the "sustainability of results that have been achieved by the assistance is threatened by a lack of political will, weak financial capacity and the limited influence of civil society".
Meanwhile the incentive to make progress in order to move towards EU membership has been "jeopardised" by the lack of a common position in the bloc on Kosovo's independence, which it declared in 2008. Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Romania and Greece have not recognised the country as a separate state.
"Kosovo's authorities accord insufficient priorities to the rule of law and EU support should be more effective," said the Gijs de Vries, the member of the court of auditors responsible for the report. The commission and the EEAS said in a statement that they accepted the conclusions.
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