The FPI oversees the implementation and financial management of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX). It is the largest civilian mission ever launched under the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), comprising, at its height, 1950 international and 1200 local staff, mainly consisting of police officers, judges, prosecutors and customs officials.
The central aim of the mission is to assist and support Kosovo institutions in the rule of law, with a specific focus on the judiciary. It was officially launched in February 2008, on the basis of a decision by all 27 EU Member States, under the general framework of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. The operational phase began in December 2008 and reached full capacity in April 2009.
The mission is conceived as a joint effort with local authorities, in line with the local ownership principle. It entails monitoring, mentoring and advising actions, while retaining some executive responsibilities in specific areas of competence, such as war crimes, organised crime and corruption, terrorism and serious financial crimes.
In June 2012, the European Council decided to prolong the mission in Kosovo by two more years, until 14 June 2014.
On the occasion of the extension, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton said: "I welcome the extension of the EU's largest civilian crisis-management mission for two more years. EULEX is doing an important and good job in supporting the rule of law in Kosovo. I encourage the Kosovo authorities to make use of the EULEX expertise as the mission is adapting to changing circumstances and progress already made. In the future, more and more responsibility will need to be taken over by the local authorities."
EULEX forms part of a broader effort undertaken by the EU to promote peace and stability in the Western Balkans, and to support the Kosovo authorities as they undertake necessary reforms.
While the current mandate expires on 14 June 2014, the mission is widely expected to continue until the Kosovo institutions have gained enough experience to guarantee that all members of society are protected by the rule of law.
Since 1 February 2013, EULEX has been led by Ambassador Bernd Borchardt, who succeeds Mr Xavier Bout de Marnhac.
The mission currently has an authorised maximum strength of 1250 international staff and 1000 local staff.
The annual budget for 2012/2013 is EUR 111 million and will remain stable with EUR 110 million for 2013/2014.
A new day for Kosovo and the rule of law