Philippe Espie is a commander of the French gendarmerie unit acting in Mitrovica region, in the frame of EULEX.
He came to Kosovo a year ago and now he leads a gendarmerie unit, a unit of high reputation among citizens of all communities. M-Magazine had an interview with Colonel Philippe Espie and initially we asked him:
M-Magazine: Sir, would you tell us briefly who Colonel Philippe Espie is?
Colonel Espie: Well, since I was 17 my life had a military character. After I finish Marine secondary school, I enrolled in the Military Academy of Gendarmerie. After graduating from Academy I was promoted to the rank of Captain, and afterwards I have served in various posts in the frame of the French Gendarmerie, in and out of French European territory, like in Martinique, Guiana, Ivory Coast, etc. I am married and have two children. My family means everything to me.
M-Magazine: It is your first time to be in a mission in Kosovo. How did you find it and what are your impressions about Kosovo, particularly about Mitrovica?
Colonel Espie: Yes, that is true; I am here in Kosovo for the first time. I like Kosovo very much and its people. They are hospitable and respectful. The same thing goes to Mitrovica and its citizens, without taking into consideration their ethnicity.
M-Magazine: Taking into consideration that you are a commander of a French gendarmerie unit, a unit that about 12 years have created a good reputation among Mitrovica population, was it easier to you and did you feel proud of this?
Colonel Espie: I would say that their work and good reputation have facilitated very much my work, knowing that we operate in a zone where the situation is unstable. In this zone my gendarmerie unit operates, and because of this I am very proud.
M-Magazine: What do you think about your work so far?
Colonel Espie: All these years experience in the gendarmerie creates you a convenience that from the professional aspect makes you know how to resolve situations, but always working with patience and self-control.
M-Magazine: You have been in Kosovo for almost a year and you are well aware of the situation here. You have been in other missions before. Do you think that to reach peace it is needed only a good will of the parties and mutual respect?
Colonel Espie: Yes, it is true. But I think wise solution and good will of the parties and mutual respects are most successful that yield results.
M-Magazine: When a child, everyone dreams about a profession that often do not come true. If you had the opportunity to choose, would you change a profession?
Colonel Espie: When I was a kid I have often think to become something else. I wanted to be a locomotive driver. Well, after 33 years of my carrier in gendarmerie, I do not believe I would have changed anything.
M-Magazine: If you had opportunity to visit Kosovo or tasted traditional dishes, what would you choose?
Colonel Espie: I have visited Kosovo a lot. I like very much Rugova gorge, city of Prizren. I like Mitrovica , too. Sometimes buildings and landscapes do not make cities and places beautiful, but it is people that embellish everything. As for specialties I like baklava.
M-Magazine: After the mission in Kosovo is terminated, what would Colonel Espie do?
Colonel Espie: Upon termination of my mission in Kosovo, I would retire. I will stay with my family and do farming, because in France I live in the village.
M-Magazine: What would your message be to Mitrovica people?
Colonel Espie: I would say to your readers and through them to all Kosovars: Seize your life God gave to you in order to live prudently together in peace. Say no to violence and be more tolerant in your lives.
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