EU countries poised to recognize Kosovo

EU

A group of European countries is prepared to recognize Kosovo if the province declares independence from Serbia in December, a senior member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats said October 25.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the head of the German parliament’s foreign affairs commission, told AFP that if Kosovo took such a step unilaterally, „a group of countries, including Germany, could move quickly to recognize” its independence.

The Christian Social Union politician said European countries were however showing great „inventiveness” in trying to wring a settlement from fraught talks between Kosovo and Serbia mediated by European, Russian and US negotiators. Leaders of Kosovo’s 90% Albanian population are threatening to proclaim independence on December 10, when the negotiations are due to end, regardless of the outcome of the talks.

Guttenberg said Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia are among the EU member nations who are reluctant to recognize an independent Kosovo. There are strong fears that the EU could be split on the issue. To avoid this, Guttenberg said, the bloc is likely to leave it up to individual nations to decide when they want to recognize Kosovo’s independence.

„Faster recognition by some nations could then be accepted as part of the process” within the bloc, he said. The German daily Die Welt on Thursday reported that at least 25 EU nations planned to recognize Kosovo’s independence, but diplomats in Brussels cast doubt on the scenario. The German government this week rejected earlier, similar reports as „speculation”.

Kosovo has been under UN rule since 1999 after NATO intervened to stop a crackdown on ethnic Albanians by Serbia. Belgrade vehemently opposes independence for the province, claiming that it is the cradle of Serbian history and culture. Russia backs Serbia’s stance while the United States has said it would recognize Kosovo. (press reelease)

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