Monday, December 01, 2008


The European Union has launched its mission to strengthen the rule of law in Kosovo, after months of delay.  
Nearly 2,000 officials are taking over police, justice and customs duties from United Nations staff.  
Serbia rejected Kosovo's declaration of independence in February and still regards Kosovo as one of its provinces, but it has accepted the new EU mission.  
The UN will leave Kosovo after more than a decade in charge, retaining only a small political role.
After making a big point some time ago about the EU in Kosovo, the EU is making a big deal about ‘taking over the operation’ from the UN.  It has to be said that the same people who are effectively the government of Kosovo will be changing hats for this new effort to ‘take over the operation’again in a bid to do something slightly less parasitic looking than the year before.  From the BBC:
Eulex is the EU's biggest-ever mission and will operate across all of Kosovo. The 1,900 international officials will be supported by about 1,100 local staff.
Yup.  That’s it. Their ‘biggest ever mission’ is IN Europe and is composed of only 3000 people, more than a third of which are local hires, all to somehow make good on decades of cultural babble on what Casper should be doing for the world.  Oh, what a grand day as they continue to not ever find a way out of that quagmire they’ve been in, albeit looking like they’re passing around by re-re-redeclaring it an mission of some other alphabet soup operation: OECD, EU, UN, NATO, CoE, or who knows what next. 
A simpler point needs to be made: while the UN have been there since 1999, and realistically outside organizations have been there longer given the interventions in the region, they really have no way out.  All the while the region has been rotting in the EU’s back yard, and the EU decided to try to take as least visible a role as it could for more than a decade.  These are the people who we’re told are lighting the way to sunshine, lollipops, and peace for the world.  
 On the other hand, Iraq has been administered by Iraqis for some time.  I can’t help wondering if the real goal of those that idealize ‘internationalism’ is anything more than self-flattery. 
To begin with UNMIK after celebrating an 18 month anniversary of being a “renerwed commitment’ amounted to:
UNMIK budget for the fiscal year 2007/08 US$210,676,800.00 (Budget for the fiscal year 
2006/2007 amounts to US$217,962,000. The budget for the fiscal year 2005/06 (until 30 June 
2006): US$239,889,800.) 
UN Staff: (Police not included): International 462, National 1892, UNV’s 125. (as of Jan. ‘08) 
OSCE: A total of 999 staff. 283 International and 716 Local staff (as of 2007)
4194 personnel, 2608 of which are local hires.  How this is a “Kosavarizing” of the activity or with apparently fewer people a “renewed commitment” is, I suppose, a matter of being able to imagine a better world.

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