Kosovo and independence, another step

For a small country it is a big deal. On September 10th the International Civilian Office (ICO) closed its doors, amid banners proclaiming the end of “supervised independence.” When Kosovo declared independence in 2008 part of the deal with its western backers was that its authorities agreed to delegate legal powers to a person appointed by the outsiders, who could veto legislation and, in effect, curbed Kosovo’s sovereignty.

It is not surprising that the government should proclaim the end of this tutelage a huge success. But is it? Run by Pieter Feith, a Dutchman, the ICO had some considerable successes. It helped keep Kosovo stable and helped push through the legislation mandated by the template for Kosovo’s independence: the plan drawn up by former Finnish president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari. Amongst its biggest success was overseeing the setting up of several new municipalities, which in effect gives Serbs in south and central Kosovo, some control over their own affairs.

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