Wednesday, July 19, 2006

KOSOVO: Rehn and Solana say EU must be driving force of international presence once negotiations on status have ended

Brussels, 18/07/2006 (Agence Europe) - The EU High Representative for CFSP, Javier Solana, and Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn presented to the External Relations Council on 17 July their joint report on the role that the EU should play in Kosovo as soon as negotiations on the status of the province have been completed. The document, in the context of talks underway and the parallel implementation of international norms for Kosovo, above all stresses how important it is for Pristina to implement European standards on human rights, minority rights and rule of law in order to better protect all minorities in the province, including the Serbs. Whatever the outcome of the talks, the international community will remain committed in Kosovo for many a long year, mainly for overseeing implementation. It will therefore need “limited intervention powers”, the document states.

The international community will continue to provide support for institution building in Kosovo where the Commission will play a “leading role”. “The EU intends to become the driving force within the future international presence”, the paper goes on to state through: - a special representative who will also be the head of the international civilian presence; - a rule of law operation that will focus on the justice sector and the police and for which the EU has already sent an EU Planning Team to prepare the operation (see EUROPE 9171); - and an office that the Commission will establish in Pristina and which will “absorb” the functions of the EC Liaison Office and of the European Agency for Reconstruciton. Finally, depending on the democratic progress made and the degree of stability in the province, all instruments presently available for the Western Balkan region should be made available to Kosovo, “including the prospect of contractual relations with the EU”, the document states. Furthermore, in order to contribute to the socio-economic development and stability of the province, the Commission and the World Bank will be organising a donors' conference upon status settlement.

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