5 February 2009 – One year after Kosovo’s independence, the European Parliament recalls the EU’s willingness to assist the economic and political development of Kosovo through a clear European perspective, according to a resolution adopted by MEPs in Strasbourg. The resolution also recommends that the EU Member States which have not recognised the independence of Kosovo should do so. The resolution was adopted with 424 votes in favour, 133 against and 24 abstentions.
EULEX, the EU law mission, is expected to promote the stable development of Kosovo and guarantee the rule of law for all the communities throughout Kosovo, including the Serb minority.
The resolution welcomes the Serbian government’s agreement to the deployment throughout the territory of Kosovo of the EULEX European Union Rule of Law (EULEX) mission in Kosovo, the largest civilian ever launched under the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). MEPs encourage Serbia to continue to show this constructive attitude, which is consistent with its aspirations to join the EU.
MEPs urge EULEX to address the backlog of court cases under international supervision, giving priority to cases of interethnic violence, war crimes and high–level corruption. A witness protection programme should also be established.
The resolution calls on the Head of the EULEX mission and the EU Special Representative to work hand-in-hand on a day-to-day basis. MEPs ask the EU Special Representative to ensure that the Kosovo government promotes the participation of Kosovo Serbs in the political, economic and social life of Kosovo, including by means of specific economic development measures for the Mitrovica region, once the rule of law is restored in the area.
A multiethnic European University College, in addition to existing university centres in Pristina and Mitrovica, should be set up, says the resolution. Academic exchanges must be supported and promoted through programmes such as Erasmus Mundus, in order to encourage citizens of Kosovo to obtain qualifications and experience within the EU.
The resolution considers that projects aimed at restoring vandalised graveyards with the direct involvement of local actors would have considerable symbolic value for the communities in Kosovo. MEPs call on the Commission and on the EU Special Representative to ensure that such initiatives rank high on the Kosovo government’s agenda.
MEPs underline the need for a multi-ethnic police force in all areas of Kosovo and welcome the return of some Serbian officers to the Kosovo Police. The Kosovo authorities are urged to support the reintegration of those police officers who have yet to return.
The resolution urges the international and local authorities to settle the legal status of the stateless Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians living in Kosovo, including their right to ownership. These communities should be guaranteed equal access to education and, when possible, to education in their mother tongue, and granted access to the labour market and to health care.
Relocating the Roma families of the Osterode and Cesmin Lug refugee camps is asked by MEPs as they believe their ill health is directly linked to the improper positioning of these camps located on the highly toxic tailing stands of the Trepça lead mines.
They call on the government to use both public and international donors’ money in a transparent and accountable manner. The Commission should help Kosovo move closer to European standards in the fields of public sector accountability and economic transparency.
MEPs urge the Commission and the Member States to assist the Kosovo government in resolving the acute staff shortage in key sectors of the public administration, to support the training of civil servants and to assist with the improvement of communications infrastructure, in order to secure the smooth running of the administration and to strengthen the link between the administrative level and civil society.
Source: European Parliament
Motion for a Resolution to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure by Joost Lagendijk on behalf of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on Kosovo and the role of the EU, 28 January 2009