Monday, June 23, 2008

Bravo Spain!!! --- "Spain Lobbies Against Kosovo Independence"

Balkan Insight: 20 June 2008 Pristina

Spain is lobbying against Kosovo's independence in the countries of Latin America, a former British Minister for Europe says.

In a comment in today's Independent newspaper, published in London, Denis Macshane writes that “key European Union nations like Spain, Greece, Romania and Slovakia weaken the unity of Europe by refusing to recognise Kosovo”.

“Greece blocks Macedonia’s EU and NATO ambitions, while Spain lobbies in Latin America against recognition of Kosovo”, writes MacShane, adding that “this bodes ill for the notion that a united EU diplomacy of weight can develop”.

MacShane outlined some of the recent developments that have caused divisions in Europe, such as the Irish “No” to the Lisbon Treaty or Kosovo’s partial recognition and he suggests that Europe needs to speak with one voice.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on February 17, after nine years of administration under the United Nations and after two years of internationally-mediated talks with Belgrade, which failed to produce a mutual agreement.

Despite the Russian and Serbian opposition, the new statehood of Kosovo was recognised by the United States and a majority of the EU members, but others refuse or hesitate to take the same step.

Countries like Romania and Slovakia fear that recognition of Kosovo may encourage the separatist moves of ethnic minorities in their countries, whereas Spain is concerned about the implications independence has on the status of Catalonia and its Basque country.

MacShane maintained that the bloc remains divided vis-à-vis Russia on certain issues such as Iran, the Balkans or other energy policies and emphasised the fact that the involvement of the Untied States in many issues has influenced many decisions or occurrences in Europe.

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