Auditors: EU wastes billions, Kosovo lawless

The EU has spent EUR 700mn to establish the rule of law and reduce corruption in Kosovo but results are poor, the European Court of Auditors says in a report.

Source: B92

It says in the report, which was released on Tuesday, that EULEX is not efficient enough despite the funding.

“Staff delegated to go to Kosovo is often not trained well enough and their participation in the mission is often too short. The EU takes the part of the responsibility because it should provide greater support,” reads the report.

During the period 1999-2007, Kosovo received EUR 3.5bn in donor assistance, two thirds of which came from the European Commission and EU Member States.

Between 2007 and 2011, EU assistance to rule of law through the IPA and EULEX totaled approximately EUR 0.7bn, reads the report.

EULEX’s mandate will last until 2014 and there is a total of 2,250 people working for the mission. Its annual budget is about EUR 111mn. The European Court of Auditors has assessed the mission’s success as “modest”.

According to the report, one of the main problems in the functioning of EULEX is a lack of coordination between the EU and the U.S., unqualified EU staff and poor work of Kosovo’s anti-corruption institutions.

“Kosovo’s authorities accord insufficient priority to the rule of law and the EU support should be more effective,” said Gijs de Vries, the ECA member responsible for the report.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008 but this step was not followed by universal recognition of Kosovo. Five EU member states, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain, have not recognized Kosovo’s independence which has led the EU to adopt what is termed a “status neutral” position, the European Court of Auditors stressed.

Many parts of Kosovo are still lawless since EULEX has failed to tackle the crime, especially in the north.

“Kosovo’s judiciary still is not isolated enough from the political influence and police are still not capable of tackling serious financial crime,” reads the report.

De Vries said that the EU needed to “formulate stricter priorities” for Kosovo.

“This is an important report and we will take into account everything that is written in it,” said EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule’s Spokesman Peter Stano.

The European Court of Auditors’ report comes after criticism of German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere who said that “EULEX needs a new beginning”.

“EULEX is on the wrong track. We need a new beginning, new people, new structure, new name and a new mandate. We have to resolve this at the highest level in the EU,” he said in October.

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