The European Union says it has started the gradual transfer of its mission to ensure rule of law in Kosovo to the country's own institutions.

From now on the mission, known as EULEX, will focus on monitoring, mentoring and advising Kosovo authorities, aiming at fighting political interference and monitoring of sensitive cases. New criminal investigations and trials will be conducted by Kosovo authorities, and only extraordinary cases will be assigned to EU staff.

The EULEX mission supporting Kosovo on its path to greater European integration in the judiciary, police and customs started in 2008, when Pristina declared independence from Serbia.

EULEX also will support talks between Kosovo and Serbia, which doesn't recognize Kosovo's independence, in areas related to rule of law.