European Court of Auditors finds that EU assistance to Kosovo in the field of the rule of law is not effective

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) has audited the EU’s assistance to Kosovo in the field of the rule of law. The result of this audit shows that the rule of law assistance to Kosovo was not sufficiently effective. Although the EU helped to build capacity, notably in the area of customs, assistance to the police and the judiciary has had only modest success.

The Special Report Nº18/2012 entitled 'European Union Assistance to Kosovo related to the rule of law' published by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) showed that although Kosovo is the largest per capita recipient of EU financial aid in the world and is home to the largest civilian crisis management mission ever launched by the Union (EULEX), this assistance was not sufficiently effective with regard to the implementation of the rule of law in that country. As example of the EU assistance could be the Cross-Border Cooperation Programme Albania – Kosovo (2010-2013).

During the period 1999-2007, Kosovo received €3.5 billion in donor assistance, two thirds of which came from the European Commission and EU Member States. Between 2007 and 2011, EU assistance to rule of law through the IPA and EULEX totalled approximately €1.2 billion. However, the ECA report unveiled that EU interventions have had limited results in tackling corruption which remains a major concern. Kosovo’s three anti-corruption bodies have weak powers and overlapping responsibilities.

The ECA therefore recommends the possibility of visa liberalisation that may act as an incentive to improve the rule of law in Kosovo. However, the EU has set 95 requirements for visa liberalisation, which risks undermining the incentive effect. Policy dialogue should focus on priority conditions. The ECA recommends that the EU support for Kosovo be linked to concrete benchmarks and take into account EU internal security objectives.