From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) stepped up preventive measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, protect the health of its staff and the community, and maintain its operational capability to the extent possible.
Throughout this period, the Mission also remained at the side of its Kosovo rule-of-law counterparts and strived to assist them in various ways: by monitoring the rapidly evolving situation and by providing advice to its rule-of-law counterparts on how to react and adapt to the challenges posed by the pandemic; by facilitating the repatriation of Kosovo citizens; and by donating equipment to health and rule-of-law institutions, schools and other entities.
Here is an overview of EULEX’s tangible support to Kosovo during the coronavirus pandemic.
In May, EULEX presented its “Special Report on the Impact of COVID-19 on the Rule of Law in Kosovo”, covering the period from March 2020 to March 2021. The report assessed the management of the pandemic in certain aspects of the justice and correctional systems in Kosovo and identified the challenges faced by them during the coronavirus pandemic. The report also offered concrete and actionable recommendations for the Kosovo rule-of-law system to better respond to the ongoing health crisis.
In April 2020, EULEX facilitated the repatriation of 12 Kosovo citizens stranded in Poland and Czechia, following a request by the Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora. The repatriation of the Kosovo citizens was cost-free for all passengers and was made possible thanks to a EULEX-chartered plane from Warsaw, Poland to Pristina, Kosovo, which brought back 31 Polish police officers from EULEX’s Formed Police Unit. At a time when there were very strict COVID-19-related travel restrictions, EULEX showed in practice that it assists Kosovo and its citizens in times of need.
In April 2020, EULEX donated IT equipment to the Kosovo Correctional Service to help increase virtual and phone access for inmates and to facilitate virtual meetings of staff. As restrictions were imposed on visits to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in correctional facilities, this donation helped the Correctional Service facilitate the communication of inmates with their family members through phone or video calls, ensuring inmates’ rights are respected. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, EULEX was able to meet an urgent need of the Kosovo Correctional Service for computers, laptops and mobile phones.
Donations and training to medical institutions
- In February 2020, EULEX donated a vehicle, medical equipment for emergency and consultation rooms, as well as IT and office equipment, to the Medical Center of Leposavić/Leposaviq. The donation aimed at helping the staff of the Medical Center in Leposavić/Leposaviq improve healthcare delivery.
- In December 2020, EULEX made a significant donation of 41 vital items, including patient monitors, trauma kits, defibrillators, and refrigerators for storage of vaccine and other medicines, to the Štrpce/Shtërpcë Medical Center.
- In May 2021, EULEX donated equipment, including laptops, PCs, printers and office furniture, to the Endocrinology and Microbiology Departments of the University Clinical Center of Kosovo.
- In February 2021, the Medical Unit of EULEX delivered an online training course on Basic Life Support to a group of 47 health workers from Kosovo, who are involved in the COVID-19 vaccination process. This two-day training was organized by the Immunization Department of Kosovo’s National Institute of Public Health, with the support of WHO/UNICEF.
- In May 2020, EULEX made a donation of PCs to the Municipality of Pristina as part of its No-Child-Is-Left-Behind initiative. The PCs were distributed to children in need of electronic devices to follow online school classes during the pandemic.
- EULEX also made donations to elementary schools to support the teachers and students with their work throughout the pandemic and in the future.
- July 2020 - public elementary school “Iliria” in Pristina
- October 2020 - "Nexhmi Mustafa" elementary school in Besi
- In March 2020, EULEX handed over 200 computers, laptops and printers to the Civil Registration Agency to help them provide better services to all Kosovo citizens.
- In November 2020, EULEX made a donation to the Centre for Social Work in Mitrovica South to support its work to assist citizens and families in need.