Will five EU member states continue saying “no” to Kosovo’s independence?

Since the European proposal for the resolution of the Kosovo problem was revealed, the dilemma remains whether five EU countries that did not recognize Kosovo’s independence will continue sticking to their decision.

 The last in a series of good news came from Madrid – there is no recognition of Kosovo’s independence – but the question is whether all five EU countries will stick to that position and whether there is a weak link among them.

Spain, Cyprus, Slovakia, Romania and Greece are five of the 27 EU countries that have not recognized Kosovo’s independence that Kosovo declared in 2008. This decision is influenced by their good relations with official Belgrade, but also by the fact that the independence of Kosovo is the Achilles’ heel of each of them due to their own internal issues.

Some, like Spain, are politically powerful and economically independent enough to persist in that position, but it Greece, Slovakia and Romania could be the first to reverse their policy, mostly due to pressure from the European Union and the West.

Some are less firm in defending their position, saying that everything depends on the relationship between Belgrade and Pristina.

Slobodan Zečević, scientific adviser at the Institute for European Studies, comments on the issue:” Each of the five countries has internal reasons for not recognizing Kosovo’s independence. Those reasons are strong – they want to ensure their territorial integrity and prevent border change within the EU. Spain and Greece have established some kind of relationship with Pristina and have somewhat softened their position.”

Still, Madrid’s stance is that there is no recognition of independence in the near future.

Cypriot ambassador to Serbia, Dimitrios Teofilaktu, says said that it is quite clear that Cyprus maintains its principled position:” Cyprus has been consistent in respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Serbia. We are sticking to this policy. But one thing is clear: together with partners from the EU and other significant actors in the region, Cyprus is quite worried about the unstable situation in Kosovo.”

On the other hand, among the five countries, Greece has been speculated to be the weakest link, so to speak, lately, due to economic dependence on the EU and security conflicts with Turkey. Also, in 2021, official Athens elevated the relations with Pristina from economic to the level of political director.

But, Greek officials are adamant that they will not recognize Kosovo, which was also confirmed by the Greek ambassador to Serbia, Maria Levadi, in late January.

There are speculations that Slovakia could also establish new relations with Pristina, however, Slovak authorities say that a possible change of attitude depends on Kosovo’s relations with Serbia.

As for Romania, the country’s attitude towards the recognition of Kosovo’s independence remains the same, although, in early March, the Romanian officials said that they welcome the willingness to compromise shown by Albin Kurti and Aleksandar Vučić.

 (Blic, 08.03.2023)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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