The Western Balkans risk falling into turmoil, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has warned, calling on EU leaders to unanimously support the UN plan on the future status of Kosovo.

The author of the proposal, UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari is to submit the plan to the UN Security Council before the end of the month, which will take the final decision on Kosovo's status.

A version of Ahtisaari's final report on Kosovo's status, leaked to Le Monde, concludes that "independence under international supervision is the only tenable option" and that "the reintegration [of Kosovo] into Serbia is not a viable option".

"If the UN Security Council fails to pass a resolution, we risk instability and even chaos in the Balkans," Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn told the European Parliament on 21 March 2007. He underlined that the Kosovo issue was a "litmus-test for the European common foreign and security policy" and that "it should be in our common interest to act in a unified manner".

"Kosovo has been in legal limbo for the past eight years and economically Kosovo is in dire straits. There is no benefit from prolonging the agony," Rehn added.

Kosovo has been under international civil and military administration since the 1999 conflict. The new plan foresees a form of internationally supervised statehood for Kosovo, with a large European presence in the region.

However, an agreement in the Security Council is still uncertain. Serb and Kosovo leaders failed to find an agreement on the plan earlier this month and Russia has threatened to veto the plan if Serbia did not agree to the settlement.

Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, criticised the Ahtisaari plan and asked for a new mediator to be appointed, according to the New York Times.