EU’s Biggest Foreign Mission in Turmoil over Corruption Row

Allegations of cover-up as UK prosecutor is dismissed after finding evidence of possible bribe-taking in Kosovo mission. The EU is struggling to contain its worst foreign policy crisis in...

Allegations of cover-up as UK prosecutor is dismissed after finding evidence of possible bribe-taking in Kosovo mission. The EU is struggling to contain its worst foreign policy crisis in recent years after a whistleblower claimed that evidence of corruption in its biggest foreign mission – which is intended to strengthen the rule of law in Kosovo – was covered up.

The EU’s new foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said she would urgently despatch an independent legal expert to oversee the Eulex inquiry. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

The EU’s new foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said she would urgently despatch an independent legal expert to oversee the Eulex inquiry. Photograph: Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

The whistleblower, Maria Bamieh, learned in August that she would be made redundant from the Eulex mission, despite an impressive record of convictions, after revealing evidence of possible bribe-taking at top levels in the mission.

Bamieh, a British prosecutor, claimed her dismissal followed two years of unfair treatment, including full-scale investigations into her conduct for petty misdemeanours such as parking infringements. Eulex has cost more than €1bn (£753m) since it was established in 2009with a promise of pursuing the “big fish” among Kosovo politicians who are alleged to be involved in graft and organised crime. Bamieh’s claims, along with the appearance of compromising documents in the Kosovan media, have reinforced a strong impression in parts of the former Yugoslav province that Eulex has become part of the problem rather than the solution.

During Eulex’s six-year tenure, analysts in Pristina say, corruption and organised crime in the political system since independence in 2008 has worsened. After Bamieh complained about her dismissal to Brussels and the UK Foreign Office – and raised the corruption allegations once more – she was suspended and escorted out of the Eulex headquarters in Pristina on 24 October, for “gross misconduct”. Eulex later said she was suspected of leaking classified documents. Bamieh denies the accusation, insisting she only went to the press after being suspended. © The Guardian

Enter your email address to subscribe to THEFrontliner.net and receive notifications of new posts by email.

RELATED BY