08 February 2024
Today, 24 Italian Carabinieri, 20 Lithuanian Public Security Officers and five gendarmes of the French National Gendarmerie serving in the Reserve Formed Police Unit (RFPU) of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) received the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) service medal awarded by the EU High Representative. The medal is a tangible and lasting tribute to the strong commitment of the Mission’s staff members to EULEX and to the EU CSDP.
The Head of Mission of EULEX, Giovanni Pietro Barbano, hosted the ceremony at the Mission’s Operations and Support Compound, in the presence of Kosovo’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Xhelal Sveçla, and of the EU Civilian Operations Commander and Managing Director of the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC), Stefano Tomat.
The ceremony was attended by the Head of the EU Office in Kosovo /EU Special Representative, Tomáš Szunyog, the Deputy Commander of the Permanent Headquarters to the European Gendarmerie Force (EUROGENDFOR), Colonel Marian Panfil, the Commander of KFOR’s Multinational Specialized Unit representing ComKFOR and the Italian National Defence Authority, Colonel Ruggiero Capodivento, the Deputy General Director of the Kosovo Police, Dejan Janković, by the Heads of Mission of EU Member States and representatives of international organizations in Kosovo.
Thanking the medal recipients, who will redeploy to their home countries by mid-February, Barbano underlined the close cooperation between Kosovo and the EU in strengthening the rule of law in the interest of all communities in Kosovo. “EULEX is committed to support Kosovo’s rule of law institutions,” Barbano stated, adding: “The EULEX Reserve Formed Police Unit, together with the regular Formed Police Unit, have worked closely with KFOR in a fragile security environment. It has robustly monitored Kosovo Police activities in line with its mandate and reassured the population with its visible presence in the most sensitive areas, including during and in the aftermath of the violent event in Banjska/Banjskë.”
Addressing the RFPU, Sveçla stated: “I’m deeply honored to be present at today’s ceremony when we recognize the contribution and dedication of personnel, who alongside their Mission and in cooperation with our institutions, have been committed to upholding the rule of law, promoting peace and stability.” In particular, Sveçla thanked Italy, Lithuania and France as their contribution to the RFPU shows the engagement to support Kosovo’s determination to become a factor of peace and stability in the region and beyond.
Tomat commended the RFPU for having served with courage and impartiality: “You are carrying a message from the European Union. You are representing the European values, first of all the value of peace,” highlighting the importance of having a good partnership with Kosovo institutions and adding that the RFPU’s engagement is a way to promote the most valuable elements of the European Union’s core.
On the occasion, Panfil presented to Barbano the EUROGENDFOR Silver Medal for Distinguished Services, awarded in recognition of his exceptionally meritorious service as Commander of the Integrated Police Unit under the aegis of EUROGENDFOR in EUFOR Althea (Bosnia and Herzegovina) from October 2007 to October 2008.
Before taking part in the medal ceremony, Tomat joined Barbano in the official inauguration of the new EULEX Headquarters, which recently relocated to the Industrial Zone in Pristina, adjacent to the EULEX Operations and Support Compound.