Yesterday (12 June), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon informed the UN Security Council and the Presidents of Serbia and Kosovo about his plans to restructure the UN presence in Kosovo. These plans are a response to the profound changes brought about not least by Kosovo's declaration of independence on 17 February and the forthcoming entry into force of the new constitution on 15 June. The European Union is to be given an enhanced operational role in the rule of law area as part of this reconfiguration.
Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement today (13 June):
"I welcome the UN Secretary-General's announcement that he plans to restructure the international civil presences in Kosovo. In view of the deadlock in the UN Security Council on this issue, he has demonstrated political courage and farsightedness by speaking out in this way. He has taken an important step towards guaranteeing continued stability, security, the rule of law and democratic development in Kosovo and the region.
In his announcement, the UN Secretary-General expressly said that the EU would play an enhanced operational role in the rule of law area. This is a task we are happy to take on. Back in December 2007, the EU stated its readiness to assist Kosovo in the building of democratic institutions that uphold the rule of law. We want to live up to our responsibility for this region that neighbours the EU. The preparations for this mission are already under way and will hopefully soon be finalized in close coordination with the United Nations."