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The European Union's Stabilisation Missions in South-East Europe

The European Union's Stabilisation Missions in South-East Europe

Recommendation 744 on the European Union's stabilisation missions in south-east Europe. Report (Document A/1859) submitted on behalf of the Political Committee by Mr Wilkinson, Rapporteur (United Kingdom, Federated Group). Source: Paris, May 10, 2004.

      The Assembly,

  1. Welcoming the accession of eight central and eastern European countries to the EU, thus anchoring them solidly in a region where stability and security are a mutual interest;

  2. Recalling that the EU represents a unique exercise in reconciliation and common purpose among democratic states committed to a social market economy and the rule of law;

  3. Aware that following the 1 May 2004 wave of accessions, much needs to be achieved before the countries of the western Balkans can meet the obligations for EU membership;

  4. Accepting the European Commission's recommendation to start accession negotiations with Croatia, which now meets the Copenhagen political criteria and is cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY);

  5. Satisfied that with its Stabilisation and Association Process, the EU has established a comprehensive programme to help the remaining countries of the western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Serbia and Montenegro) make progress towards a realistic application for EU membership;

  6. Recognising that this process has already resulted in significant improvements in the region in terms of stability, functioning democracy and implementation of the reform agenda;

  7. Noting that the 2003 Thessaloniki European Council reinforced the SAP by including in it new instruments, and that this year European Partnerships are being introduced for each SAP country, which set both short- and medium-term priorities for action;

  8. Appreciating the fact that the EU, in preparing the western Balkan countries for possible future membership, is also assuming military and police responsibilities aimed at creating a secure environment and helping countries develop effective police forces which operate in accordance with western European standards;

  9. Concerned by the prevalence and extent of organised crime in Albania, which has also spread to other countries in the region and into western Europe;

  10. Regretting that the political will of successive Albanian governments has been insufficient to address this problem, which is adversely affecting healthy economic development and constitutes a serious obstacle to greater transparency in politics;

  11. Observing that WEU's Multinational Advisory Police Element (MAPE) was replaced by an EU Police Mission with a far narrower mandate, whereas the Albanian police is, as yet, far from fully prepared to cope with the demanding task of fighting organised crime which challenges the rule of law;

  12. Judging that in the light of the European Commission's assessment which states that the fight against organised crime and corruption and the functioning of the judicial system are of particular concern, the EU should expand the mandate and size of its police mission in Albania in order to help the country meet Copenhagen standards of law enforcement and prevent the further spread of crime of Albanian origin into neighbouring countries and beyond;

  13. Agreeing that the EU can open negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement only when the country has made sufficient progress in the 16 areas for reform indicated in the Feasibility Study, achievement of which has so far been hampered by the slow process of political adaptation to EU standards and the under-development of its national and governmental institutions;

  14. Regretting, however, that progress on improving the political situation has been slow and that the institutions of government and state are still under-developed;

  15. Regretting also that too much power in Bosnia and Herzegovina rests in institutions of local and regional government with strong ethnic and nationalist allegiances;

  16. Welcoming the recent defence reform establishing a unitary State Ministry of Defence to oversee the single command of the country's two separate armies and hopeful that the reforms will also be implemented in practice;

  17. Recognising the activities of the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina but regretting that, due to the reduced mandate and size of this mission, it is unable to guide and accompany the Bosnia and Herzegovina police on a number of core tasks, such as the fight against organised crime;

  18. Noting the EU's intention to take over responsibility from NATO's SFOR as the foreign military presence which for some time to come will remain essential to maintain peace and security in Bosnia and Herzegovina and whose authority must be established ab initio;

  19. Insisting that the future EU force will need to include a robust "gendarmerie-type" element to perform those tasks for which most military personnel are not trained and which normal police forces cannot perform;

  20. Noting that the closest coordination in the fight against terrorism between all military forces, police and civilian authorities is absolutely essential, and that in Bosnia and Herzegovina this issue must not become the subject of disputes between national and international authorities over their respective areas of competence and should be handled in cooperation with both the EU and NATO;

  21. Paying tribute to the late President Boris Trajkovski of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for his steadfast endeavours as a moderate leader who supported national unity and the early integration of his country in the Euro-Atlantic structures;

  22. Conscious of the social importance of religious, historical and cultural traditions, and insisting that religious and cultural sites must be effectively safeguarded and that mutual confidence and respect must exist between communities, enhanced by a progressive educational system;

  23. Convinced that the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government have an important role to play in Kosovo in combating extremism and intolerance among the population;

  24. Believing that any further postponement of discussions on the issue of a final status for Kosovo can only contribute to a deterioration of the present situation in which the lack of economic development and massive unemployment are leading to even greater frustration and tension owing to the uncertainty over Kosovo's long-term future;

  25. Considering that there is an urgent need for UNMIK to revitalise the economy with all possible support for sound privatisation;

  26. Recognising that cohabitation of different ethnic groups in a multi-ethnic society cannot be imposed on the communities concerned from without and that, in order to provide security and social services for Serb communities within Kosovo, the parallel structures established for the purpose may have to be recognised, regularised and, if need be, supported by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government,


      RECOMMENDS that the Council invite the European Union to:

  1. Maintain a high priority for a strong European multi-dimensional effort using all available instruments to increase the prosperity, stability and security of the western Balkan region as a whole;

  2. Insist that NATO continue to keep a substantial visible presence in the western Balkans, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo with adequate trained reserves available for rapid deployment to the Balkan theatre;

  3. Deploy adequate, well-trained forces to Bosnia and Herzegovina to assume the role currently being carried out by SFOR, with an experienced commander and staff to carry authority from the first day of their mandate;

  4. Work towards the closest cooperation between the EU Stabilisation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the residual NATO presence in that country to ensure a clear delineation of the roles and responsibilities established between the two organisations;

  5. Coordinate with the United Nations a further steady, progressive hand-over of responsibilities for domestic governance in Kosovo from UNMIK to the elected provisional government in Pristina from November 2004;

  6. Insist that the Contact Group of five nations on Kosovo agree by early 2005 a strategy for the definition of an internationally recognised status for Kosovo which commands the confidence of the people of Kosovo across the community divides and which will be acceptable to its neighbours;

  7. Urge NATO to implement a thorough reform of the Kosovo Protection Corps to render it more cost-effective with the training, equipment and personnel necessary for the full implementation of its designated roles;

  8. Encourage, where appropriate with EU assistance, training and support for an educational system and further development of public services throughout the western Balkans, combining professional competence and reliability with full accountability to their democratically elected governments;

  9. Support the establishment of a strong judicial and penal system based upon human rights to underpin with consistency the rule of law and to ensure that this system is properly resourced;

  10. Maintain its commitment to a full recognition of the necessity for minorities to participate actively in the governance and the institutional, social and cultural development of the countries in which they live;

  11. Demonstrate its political, diplomatic and, if necessary, military support for the integration of the western Balkans in the Euro-Atlantic structures.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).