EULEX Head of Mission Ms. Papadopoulou, together with the EUSR Ms. Apostolova, met on 26 September at the EULEX HQ a delegation of representatives of the Working Party on the Western Balkans Region (COWEB) of the Council of the EU Member States visiting Kosovo from 25 to 28 September.
The COWEB delegation’s visit was coordinated by the EUSR/EUO and the delegates met during their stay in Kosovo a number of local and international interlocutors. The Head of Mission and key senior staff briefed the COWEB delegation on the new mandate and current and future activities of the Mission as well as achievements made and challenges faced by EULEX over its decade-long assistance to the Kosovo Rule of Law institutions.
Ms. Papadopoulou: “The new EULEX reflects a new reality on the ground. Serious rule of law challenges in the Kosovo system remain, but it is time to progressively move from EU crisis management to a more “normal” type of EU assistance and to let the local authorities take on increasing responsibilities in making Kosovo progress on its European path.”
Ms. Papadopoulou stressed how the Mission preserved under its new structure the unique added value of an embedded expert presence in some critical Kosovo rule of law areas, namely the judicial and prosecutorial system and the correctional service, where structural weaknesses and the risk of political interference persist. “Our co-located presence in some targeted sectors of the rule of law will allow EULEX further help the local institutions identify and tackle remaining problems and to offer EU Member States regular first-hands assessments on the situation on the ground in a crucial area for Kosovo’s EU approximation”.