27 March 2012
As you are aware, EULEX will be entering a new phase starting this summer, following the recently approved Strategic Review of the Mission. This will result in a revised posture for the Mission and present significant changes after the current mandate expires on June 15, 2012. The High Representative Catherine Ashton has agreed that my mandate, which is tied to the Mission, will end at the same time. I fully support this decision.
It has been a deep honour to represent the European Union and lead its largest and most complex Common Security and Defence Policy mission since 2010. I have served with dedication in this capacity, with the confidence that the High Representative and Member States have given me throughout my tenure.
I have truly enjoyed my many years in Kosovo, both in my current and past capacities, and have developed a strong appreciation for its people, its culture and history, and the region. I have also developed profound respect for the police, customs, and justice sector professionals – both international and local – who work tirelessly to develop a system governed by laws, in which access to justice is provided, disputes are resolved peacefully and fairly, and criminal acts are punished.
The past year has been a challenging one indeed, but has also demonstrated that EULEX was able to adjust to this challenge. In the meantime, it has shown that Kosovo is on the right track, so long as its institutions and society continue to aspire to the principles and values which the EU promotes.
I am confident that EULEX finds itself better positioned today to help Kosovo on its path, thanks to important recent steps which we have supported. This is due not only to the important partnerships we have developed, but also to the commitment of the many international and local staff members of EULEX. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your hard work and dedication, which I am certain will continue over the coming year as EULEX enters its next phase.
Rest assured that I will continue to push forward our rule of law agenda for the remainder of my tenure, and I look forward to your continued commitment and support.