“We want to know more!”

12 October 2009

EULEX has begun a major outreach campaign to the schools, universities and youth organisations across Kosovo. The aim is to explain the role of EULEX, the importance of improving the rule of law and to answer questions

“We can see there is an enormous appetite from the young people of Kosovo to know more about the Mission,” said the Co-ordinator of the project, Eldita Tarani. “The initial response has been extremely encouraging.”

In Pristina, staff members of EULEX visited the “Xhevdet Doda” Gjimnazium and the “Ali Sokoli” Medical High School. The reception of the teachers and students was very positive.

Ardian Latifaj from EULEX gave a lecture about EULEX’s role in Kosovo and then the floor was opened for questions. And there was no doubting the appetite of everyone to know more about EULEX and its mandate!

The questions just kept on coming:

How accountable was EULEX? When will Kosovo be able to join the European Union? Why does EULEX have executive powers?

At Xhevdet Doda High School in Pristina, 17-year old Rina wanted to know more about the Police Protocol signed with Serbia.’Why did you sign this agreement? What was the point?” she asked. Ardian, from EULEX, explained the Protocol will help in the fight against organized crime in Kosovo and the region.

Auron,17, asked how EULEX could help the people of Kosovo become ‘better Europeans’. It was explained that improving the rule of law in Kosovo would benefit everyone and bring Kosovo closer to European best practices and standards.

In the mainly-Serb North Mitrovica, students from the high schools and university attended two lectures. Again, there was a real interest to know more about EULEX. There were many questions: what is EULEX doing about missing persons? what are you doing to protect sites of cultural heritage? Does EULEX recognise Kosovo as an independent state?

“I think one of the key lessons so far is that people have to realise that EULEX is only a rule of law mission. There are many issues that simply do not come under our mandate. We only deal with issues relating to justice, police and customs,” said Eldita Tarani.

During the next weeks dozens of schools, universities and youth institutions throughout Kosovo will be visited by EULEX in order to explain the Mission’s mandate and to answer questions from young people.