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|The European Union and Kosovo´s independence|
Corriere della Sera - June 24th 2007
Russia’s rejection of the latest American and European proposal at the UN Security Council on helping Kosovo to become independent of Serbia looks like the latest example of the widening divide between Russia and the West. But that would be the wrong interpretation.
The case for Kosovo’s independence is clear. It is home to 1.8m ethnic Albanians and just 100,000 ethnic Serbians, and the population overwhelmingly favours self-determination. Although there is some danger that the Serbian minority could be persecuted in an independent Kosovo, it should be possible to prevent that through the proposed EU police and justice mission that, in co-operation with NATO forces, is intended to replace the UN mission that currently governs Kosovo. The promise of future potential accession to the EU should also help protect the minority’s rights. If Kosovo remains part of
Yes, by doing so the EU is interfering in the sovereignty of another country, which is a big and dangerous step. But that step has already been taken, by virtue of NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999 and the despatch of a UN mission since then to govern the province. Serbia’s attitude to Kosovo gives the EU more justification for blocking membership talks than the European countries have had, for example, in slowing down or trying to block membership for Turkey.
There is, however, one more complication. This is the continuing effort of Carla del Ponte, the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former