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EU issues damning report of its own record in Kosovo

Date of publication: 30/10/2012

How the EU spends its money in Kosovo.

The report issued by the European Court of Auditors is a daming indictment of five years of administration of that province by the European Union's agency, EULEX.

EULEX was illegally introduced into Kosovo to take over from UNMIK, the United Nations' Mission in Kosovo, established in June 1999 by UN Security Council Resolution 1244.  As that Resolution has never been rescinded, UNMIK remains the legal authority in Kosovo and indeed it continues to exist, spending some $49 million a year.

EULEX's budget is €140 million a year and the total spend (from all international sources) since 1999 is some 5 billion euros (for a province which counts some 1.7 million inhabitants). The EU claims to have provided two-thirds of these gigantic sums and, according to EU Commission President Barroso, Kosovo is the highest per capita recipient of EU aid in the world.

According to the Court of Auditors, this money has gone to waste.  The report concludes that "levels of organised crime and corruption remain high" (p.15); that judges refused to investigate or prosecute serious crimes including war crimes because of "threats and intimidation" (p.21); and that "Albanian-speaking organised crime groups" (i.e. Kosovo Albanians) continue to threaten Europe with their trafficking in "heroin and human beings" (p.32).

The report also alleges, inconsistently, that the North of Kosovo remains a haven for crime mainly because of "the lack of control over the north by the Pristina-based Kosovo authorities".  But if they cannot tackle crime in the parts of Kosovo they do control, then why is their lack of control an explanation for crime in the North?

One would have thought that a report of this kind would lead to a re-think of the EU's strategy in Kosovo and of the wisdom of international interventionism generally.  Let us not forget, however, that what is happening in Kosovo is merely a smaller version of what happens in the EU as a whole.  After all, the same EU Court of Auditors has not approved the EU's own account for seventeen years in a row.  The last audit, published on 11 November 2001, said that the accounts were affected by material error and that large swathes of the EU budget were subject to fraud.

For a earlier report on Kosovo, published by the Institute of Democracy and Cooperation in Paris in 2009, click here.


Centre for the Study of Interventionism