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Kosovo independence anniversary highlights EU split

18. February 2010. | 07:19

Source: EMportal

Ulrike Lunacek, the European Parliament's rapporteur on Kosovo, called for the five EU nations yet to recognise it to do so saying "is high time to focus all efforts to ensure the future" of the tiny Balkan territory.

The European Union on Wednesday displayed its deep split over Kosovo's status as the breakaway province celebrated the second anniversary of its independence from Serbia.

Ulrike Lunacek, the European Parliament's rapporteur on Kosovo, called for the five EU nations yet to recognise it to do so saying "is high time to focus all efforts to ensure the future" of the tiny Balkan territory.

However that call was swiftly rejected by Spain which is one of the five and currently holds the EU's rotating presidency.

"It is not a question of European recognition in general terms, these are decisions for member states to take individually. Spain does not recognise Kosovo and has said that's not going to change," a Spanish EU presidency spokesperson said.

Spain is backed in its stance by Cyprus, Greece, Romania and Slovakia, either in solidarity with Serbia or over concerns that it could create a precedent for their own separatist areas.

However Lunacek was adamant that "all citizens of Kosovo, including the Serbian and other minorities, deserve assurances that their state finally can provide them with economic prosperity and the supply of basic services as education and health.

"It is high time too, that the remaining five EU member states make moves towards recognising of the new state," she insisted in a statement.

She added that EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, who was embarking on her first official tour of the Balkans on Wednesday, "should personally get involved to ensure this."

Ashton is due to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo from Wednesday to Friday.

Before leaving she chose her words carefully on Kosovo.

"In Kosovo, I am particularly interested in discussing the progress made in the rule of law, the fight against corruption and organised crime as well as in good governance," she said.

Officials admitted that Ashton would have to steer a fine diplomatic line as she would be speaking on behalf of a European bloc itself so divided on the issue.

That divided position "is rendering a coherent European policy towards Kosovo... almost impossible," said Lunacek.

The Spanish EU presidency spokesperson argued that there was plenty of very inportant EU consensus on Kosovo.

"There is the EULEX mission which is supported by everybody, and also the process of economic support and the development of the links with the European Union," she said.


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