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EULEX condemns setting up of roadblocks and civilian observation posts

23 June, 2009

EULEX is strongly condemning the latest developments in northern Kosovo where demonstrators have prevented EULEX customs officers from carrying out their duties by setting up roadblocks and so-called civilian observation posts on the roads leading to Gates 1 and 31.

EULEX has a mandate to carry out its activities all over Kosovo. This mandate has been confirmed in the invitation by the Kosovo authorities and in a letter sent by the President of Serbia, Mr. Tadic, to the EU High Representative, Mr. Solana.

From mid January 2009 EULEX Customs has been present 24/7 at Gates 1 and 31 and from 1 Feb 2009 EULEX Customs officers began to register commercial goods entering via both Gates 1 and 31. From midnight 20 May 2009 EULEX Customs established enhanced controls by requiring that the identification cards of truck drivers carrying commercial goods, their invoices listing the value and type of goods, and licenses be photocopied and a EULEX stamp was placed on the invoice.

EULEX has, as well as coordinating with the Kosovo authorities, clearly communicated all those measures in meetings with the Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Serbian Tax and Customs Administrations officials and a representative of the Minister for Kosovo where there were no adverse comments on the new measures to be established at Gates 1 and 31. In addition there has been no rejection of letters that the Head of EULEX Customs, sent to the Serbian Minister of Finance informing about the planned measures.

These activities from EULEX’s side have resulted in a sharp decrease in smuggling which is to the benefit of all communities. At no point has EULEX collected revenues. This is a political decision that can not be taken by EULEX.

Press Contacts:

Karin Limdal, Deputy Head of EULEX PPIO, +377 44 799 247
Kristiina Herodes Justice Spokesperson, +377 44 702 689