Joachim Rucker is the head of UNMIK in Kosovo since September 2006. He first arrived in February 2005 as head of the EU Pillar of the UN mission responsible for economic development. He was not new to the Balkans, having worked in Bosnia for the Office of the High Representative in Sarajevo.
Prior to coming to the Balkans he was a diplomat with the German Foreign Ministry, serving in Vienna, Dar Es Salaam and Detroit. He was also mayor of his home town Sindelfingen for two consecutive terms from 1993-2001.
I think this is one of the special strengths of Kosovo's society, something that impressed me a lot. People look confidently into the future, despite a difficult present, despite a difficult past, people are confident about the future. And I think it is our task to do everything not to frustrate this confidence."
Rucker is aware of economic challenge Kosovo is facing:
"If we look at unemployment, it is around 50 percent if we include the subsistence economy in agriculture, and around 30 percent if we exclude it, that is too high. On top of this, there are about 25,000 young people pushing on the labour market every year because birthrates are so high. Something needs to be done and it will have to do something with migration. And that means that if the problems of this labour market in Kosovo can't be solved by growth alone, and that is certainly the most important strategy, one needs the valve of migration."