History of the EU Pillar within UNMIK

What is UNMIK?

On 10 June 1999, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1244 establishing the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to begin the long process of building peace, stability, democracy and self-government in the Province.

Adapting itself to an evolving environment and to the different stages of its mandate, the structure of the UNMIK administration has changed since it was first established. In the first-ever operation of its kind, UNMIK initially brought together four Pillars under UN leadership: Humanitarian Affairs under the responsibility of the UNHCR, Civil Administration of the UN, Democratisation and Institution-building of the OSCE, and Economic Reconstruction, Recovery and Development of the European Union (EU).

With the emergency stage over, Pillar I (Humanitarian Affairs), led by the UNHCR, was phased out at the end of June 2000. In May 2001 a new Pillar I was created to be responsible for Police and Justice under the UN. This four-Pillar structure remains to date.

Joint Interim Administrative Structure (JIAS)

In January 2000, UNMIK established, together with Kosovan counterparts, a Joint Interim Administrative Structure (JIAS) consisting of 20 administrative departments across the four Pillars in accordance with their respective responsibilities. This structure was designed as a major vehicle for sharing responsibility between international and local participants in the reconstruction of Kosovo.

Since its inception in 1999, UNMIK has taken a number of fundamental steps to establish under its authority Kosovo’s provisional institutions of self-government (PISG) in a context of substantial autonomy. March 2002 was marked by the formation of a coalition Government involving the three major Kosovo Albanian parties and headed by Dr. Bajram Rexhepi. The same agreement put forward Dr. Ibrahim Rugova as President of Kosovo. The Government now consists of the Office of the Prime Minister and ten Ministries, one of which is headed by a Kosovo Serb and one by a non-Serb minority. The Government also nominated a Kosovo Serb to act as the Inter-Ministerial Coordinator for Returns with the rank of Minister.

The coalition agreement effectively paved the way for the transfer of responsibilities from UNMIK to the newly formed Government in those areas outlined in the Constitutional Framework (i.e. non-reserved powers under Chapter 5). The transfer of responsibilities has included both the transfer of political authority to take relevant decisions, which has been immediate, and secondly the transfer of executive functions from international staff to Kosovan civil servants, which is incremental. Progress in assuming executive functions has varied from Ministry to Ministry, depending both on their organisational structure and ability to recruit qualified staff. Although some international staff has remained in line functions in some institutions, by the end of the year, Kosovo civil servants in most Ministries were increasingly taking the initiative in solving day-to-day problems, as the reliance of international staff diminished.

The EU Pillar within UNMIK

Within UNMIK the EU Pillar was initially entrusted with the responsibility to co-administer four JIAS departments: the Department of Reconstruction (DOR), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Public Utilities Department (PUD) and the Central Fiscal Authority (CFA), as well as to manage the Banking and Payments Authority of Kosovo (BPK), which is an independent structure.

Meanwhile, and in preparation for the implementation of Regulation 2001/9 (Constitutional Framework for Provisional Self-Government in Kosovo), the Department of Reconstruction and the Central Fiscal Authority (CFA) were amalgamated into one institution. The Department of Trade and Industry and the Public Utilities Department were joined under the Transitional Department of Trade and Industry (TDTI).

Following the adoption of the Constitutional Framework and the 17 November 2001 Assembly elections in Kosovo, the organisational structure of the EU Pillar was expanded to provide still greater support to the transition to self-government and to address the evolving needs of the economic reform process. As a result, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Finance and Economics were established to take over the transferred functions from the TDTI falling under the purview of the EU Pillar. Remaining reserved functions are managed by the Kosovo Trust Agency (KTA) and the Central Regulatory Unit (CRU) as defined by the Constitutional Framework.

In the transition of authority, the EU Pillar of UNMIK has taken on a new role by working closely with the PISG and mentoring four of the eleven Government Offices – the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Finance and Economy, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Transport and Communications. In each of these Ministries, the EU Pillar seeks to enable locally elected ministers to be informed and take responsibility, while ensuring that they act within the limits of UNSCR 1244 (1999) and the Constitutional Framework.

The devolution has not only brought about a redefinition of the division of responsibilities between the UN and EU Pillars of UNMIK for those powers which were to remain reserved to international management, but has also lead to a restructuring of the EU Pillar itself (and its activities) shifting the focus further from economic reconstruction towards fostering a sustainable and market-minded economy in Kosovo.