Kosovo: new UN envoy to focus on improving governance, reviving economy

Kosovo: new UN envoy to focus on improving governance, reviving economy

Michael Steiner speaking to the press
Michael Steiner, the new head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), said in Pristina today that he was starting out in a “listening mode” to get feedback from all key players, but stressed that good governance, the rule of law and revitalizing the province’s economy would be priority areas for his administration.

Michael Steiner, the new head of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), said in Pristina today that he was starting out in a “listening mode” to get feedback from all key players, but stressed that good governance, the rule of law and revitalizing the province’s economy would be priority areas for his administration.

Mr. Steiner, who arrived in Kosovo yesterday, told his first official press conference that he would meet tomorrow with the main political leaders to listen to their views and understand how they evaluate the situation in the province.

“I must stress that I am at the moment more into a listening mode,” Mr. Steiner said. “I think that is only fair that I don't come in with ready made concepts but just to listen to the elected leaders and foremost to listen to what the people here, the Kosovars, have to say and what their expectations are.”

He added that he intended in the first few days to go around, not only in Pristina but also to the rest of Kosovo and talk to people and find out what their aspirations were and how they evaluated the situation.

On the issue of good governance, Mr. Steiner noted that time has elapsed between last November’s elections for a legislative assembly and the nomination of the government, which was still outstanding.

“This happens also in other places in Europe but I think it is now becoming high time for the parties to get their act together, also in respect of those who have been called to vote for them, to participate in the elections,” Mr. Steiner said. “The leaders must know it is their responsibility.”

As for the concept of law and order, the Special Representative said the UN wanted to build a civil society after the model seen everywhere in the rest of Europe. “If one wants to join the club of European democracies one has to accept the fundamental rules,” he said. “And the part of the fundamental rules is the rule of law.”

Mr. Steiner also noted that on the economic front, one of the immediate challenges would be to get the privatization going because that was the precondition for getting investments.