Last year we opened our doors to students from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for an interesting and lively study visit. This year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we opened our virtual doors instead to another group of enthusiastic students of this university, who had an extensive and insightful discussion with the Head of the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, on the role of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) civilian missions, the Mission’s current mandate and daily activities and the challenges that EULEX is currently facing due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Wigemark recalled his own experience as an undergraduate and postgraduate student in the U.S. as well as his career as a Swedish and EU diplomat. Prior to a lively and engaging Q&A session, the EULEX Head also provided an overview of the Mission, elaborating on the past executive mandate in the judiciary, and the significant changes to EULEX’s mandate in recent years.
The students asked questions on the state of play of the judiciary, the Mission’s cooperation on the ground with other international partners and its links with the Brussels-based decision-making process and the overall EU approach to the Western Balkans. They were also keen to find out how the Mission has operated under the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ambassador Wigemark explained how during these challenging times EULEX supported Kosovo institutions in different ways, including the repatriation of Kosovo citizens from EU countries on a Mission-chartered flight, and donating IT equipment to the Kosovo Correctional Service as well as to children in need to provide virtual access for family contacts with inmates and online schooling.