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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Statement on behalf of the EU to the Security Council of the United Nations on the UN Interim administration mission in Kosovo

Date of Speech : 25-02-2005

Place : New York

Speaker : Jean-Marc Hoscheit, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the United Nations

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia  and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this declaration.

Mr. President,

Let me begin by thanking the Special Representative of the Secretary General and Head of UNMIK, Mr. Jessen-Petersen for his briefing and by reiterating the European Union’s full support for his work towards implementation of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

Nearly one year after the derailment of the political process by an outbreak of violence in Kosovo in March 2004 and a couple of months into the functioning of the new central-level institutions, the European Union shares the Secretary General’s assessment that the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) have shown "some encouraging and tangible progress" in their commitment to the implementation of the standards. The new Government’s publicly stated resolve in this regard is duly noted.

The European Union supports UNMIK’s prioritisation of actions within those standards that most directly affect minority communities and the goal of a democratic and multi-ethnic Kosovo, especially those concerning the return of refugees and internally displaced persons, the protection of minority communities, freedom of movement and decentralisation. In this context, the European Union calls on the Provisional Institutions to make full use of the increased competencies recently transferred to them by UNMIK. It encourages UNMIK to examine the possibility of further such transfers.

keeping in mind the important developments that are expected in 2005, the European Union attaches great importance to the establishment of a substantial dialogue between all Kosovo communities, as well as between Belgrade and Pristina. It calls upon all communities to participate actively in the ongoing process, including pilot projects, leading to reforms of local government and the establishment of a decentralised and sustainable administration that can actively support the return of refugees and displaced persons, and guarantee the protection of minority communities and improved living conditions for the population at large.

In this context, the European Union calls particularly on the Kosovo Serb community to engage constructively in the Provisional Institutions at a central level. Kosovo Serbs must recognise that it is in their immediate interest to participate in the ongoing political process: it is the best way for them to promote their legitimate concerns and to have a say in shaping the future of Kosovo. While the European Union is encouraged by the fact that the authorities in Belgrade have announced their readiness to restart a direct dialogue with Pristina, it regrets that they have as yet not encouraged Kosovo Serb participation in any of the processes.

Mr. President,

While recognising that progress in the implementation of some of the standards has been made, substantial further progress across all eight standards will be necessary, particularly on the priority actions inside those standards. This is especially important since we approach the comprehensive review of overall progress made towards implementation of the standards in mid-2005. This review will have a major impact on the timing of final status talks and it is therefore in the common interest of all concerned to ensure that real, verifiable progress has been made in the implementation of the standards.

In the long term, and with the European perspective for the Western Balkans in mind, accelerated implementation of standards should not be viewed as a goal in itself or a quicker way to a decision on the future status of Kosovo. Through this exercise of implementing the standards and thereby building a sustainable democratic and multiethnic society, the people of Kosovo will move closer to realising that European perspective.

In this regard, the European Union underlines that the full and unrestricted cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is an international obligation and an essential requirement for further rapprochement with the European Union.

Mr. President,

The European Union has been steadfastly at the side of the people of Kosovo throughout the post-conflict period by providing the lion’s share of resources – military, financial and human – to repair the damage of war and decades of under-investment. The European Union will continue to help Kosovo to make progress towards sustainable economic development. However, such development is contingent on the creation, as a matter of priority by UNMIK and the Provisional Institutions, of the necessary conditions in the framework of comprehensive, integrated and EU-compatible strategy.

Mr. President,

Let me conclude by reiterating that Kosovo will not return to a pre-1999 situation and that the European Union is unwavering in its commitment to helping a democratic and multiethnic Kosovo, characterised by the protection it provides to its minority communities, on its way to full integration in Europe, regardless of its future status.

*Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

This page was last modified on : 14-03-2005

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