An EU mission has started a long delayed deployment in Kosovo, but the new peacekeepers are unwanted on both sides of Kosovo’s ethnic divide. A Serb minority see the new force as a symbol of Kosovo’s declared independence, which they oppose. And the Albanians fear a de facto partition of Kosovo
Kosovo’s minister of internal affairs said the deployment, known as the EULEX mission, was there to help to support and monitor Kosovo implementing its laws. It was aimed at mutual European values he said.
EULEX is taking over policing from the United Nations and was supposed to deploy soon after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February. Serbia and Kosovo have reluctantly agreed to co-operate with EULEX
Meanwhile the head of mission said he would use force if the rule of law is not obeyed. Yves de Kermabon Head of EULEX said: “I will mostly focus on this mentoring advising part of the mission and to push the local institutions to be sure they can be responsible and they really take the responsibilities, but if needed in the case of difficult situations or difficult case I am ready to use this executive power if needed.”
Meanwhile three thousand ethnic Albanians took to the streets of Pristina to protest at the deployment of the European police force. Albanians fear that the EU made too many concessions to Serb leaders in a bid to garner their support, and fear that these will lead to Serbia having a say over Kosovo’s affairs in areas where Serbs live — eventually splitting the country along ethnic lines.