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Homepage > Publication Type > Media Releases > Kosovo: Historic Opportunity for the European Union

Kosovo: Historic Opportunity for the European Union

Brussels  |   13 Dec 2007

The European Union has a historic opportunity to send an unequivocal message of readiness to take a leading role in Kosovo when heads of state and government meet at the European Council on 14 December.

In a letter to EU heads of state on 11 December (below), Crisis Group President Gareth Evans outlined the substance of that message, which would ideally take the form of a declaration by the Council that:

  • notes that the Troika’s mandate has been exhausted, and that the international community, in particular the EU, has explored with Belgrade and Pristina every reasonable status outcome for Kosovo in search of a mutually acceptable outcome;
  • reaffirms that the plan for a conditionally independent Kosovo devised by the UN Secretary-General’s special representative Martti Ahtisaari remains the best basis for the settlement of the Kosovo issue; and
  • states that the EU is ready to rapidly assume, in consultation with other key international actors, a significant role in Kosovo in the implementation of the Ahtisaari plan, including by preparing itself to deploy a civilian European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) rule-of-law mission and the International Civilian Office (ICO).

Evans stressed that such a message should be sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon before the UN Security Council meets on 19 December to discuss Kosovo.

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On 6 December, Crisis Group published Kosovo Countdown: A Blueprint for Transition, a report analysing why a decision to support Kosovo’s transition to conditional independence in the first half of 2008 should be delayed no longer, and offering a detailed step-by-step guide on how this can be achieved and implemented.

To find out more, visit our "Kosovo Final Status" web page, which has links to Crisis Group’s reports and opinion pieces, details of our advocacy efforts to date and links to other resources.


11 December 2007

To European Union Heads of State:

With negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo now complete, the European Union has a historic opportunity to send an unequivocal message of readiness to take a leading role in Kosovo when heads of state and government meet later this week, on 14 December, at the European Council.

The substance of that message should ideally be in the form of a declaration of the Council which:

  • notes that the Troika’s mandate has been exhausted, and that the international community, in particular the EU, has explored with Belgrade and Pristina every reasonable status outcome for Kosovo in search of a mutually acceptable outcome;
  • reaffirms that the Ahtisaari plan remains the best basis for the settlement of the Kosovo issue; and
  • states that the EU is ready to rapidly assume, in consultation with other key international actors, a significant role in Kosovo in the implementation of the Ahtisaari plan, including by preparing itself to deploy a civilian European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) rule-of-law mission and the International Civilian Office (ICO).

What matters enormously, in Crisis Group’s judgment, is that such a message be sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon before the UN Security Council meets on 19 December to discuss Kosovo, in the hope and expectation that the Secretary General will explicitly then welcome the EU pledge to deploy these missions to further implement UN Security Council resolution 1244. Such a response by the Secretary-General would greatly facilitate EU action in early 2008 for mission deployment.

Contributing to the urgency of getting a clear message from the UN Secretary General this month is the fact that in January 2008 five new members will join the UN Security Council who will be bound to require time to familiarise themselves with the issues. This will further delay processes, making it ever more possible that the situation on the ground could overtake capitals, with Kosovo declaring independence without effective supervision of the kind everyone agrees is essential. 

I urge you to take maximum advantage of your meeting this week to agree on a message along the above lines.

Yours sincerely,

GARETH EVANS
President  

 
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Contact Info

Nadja Nolting (Brussels)
+32 (0) 2 541 1635
@NadjaLeoni

Ben Dalton (Washington DC)
+1 202 785 1603
@wbend

For more information on how to contact Crisis Group's Communications Unit, please click here.