Kosovo's quest for recognition is far from over. Whether at regional, European or global level, the southern breakaway region has not yet garnered sufficient consensus to make its statehood a fait accompli.
In the Balkans, Croatia, Slovenia, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bulgaria have all recognised Kosovo's independence. Yet Serbia, Bosnia, Greece and Romania are still opposed to it.
In addition to the latter two countries, EU members Cyprus, Slovakia and Spain – which holds the rotating EU presidency in the first half of 2010 (EurActiv 07/01/10) - also do not recognise Kosovo's international status.
Outside Europe, the most noticeable deniers of Kosovo's existence are the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China).
A new chapter recently supplemented this diplomatic war when the International Court of Justice agreed on 1 December 2009 to examine the legality of a Serbian request which aims to nullify Kosovo's declaration of independence (EurActiv 01/12/09).
The hopes of those who believed that Serbia would soften its stance following the submission of its application for EU membership on 22 December last year (EurActiv 04/01/10) have since been frustrated.
In an interview with the New York Times, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic clearly spelled out this view by saying that "this place, Kosovo, is our Jerusalem; you just can't treat it any other way than our Jerusalem". Thus Serbia's effort to tame Kosovo remains unhindered by its EU membership application.
Recent events have indicated that consequences will not be simply cosmetic and that Serbia's relations with countries which have recognised Kosovo might deteriorate.
One such example was offered when Serbia called back its ambassador on 18 January 2010 following the decision of the Montenegrin government to establish diplomatic ties with Kosovar authorities.
Quoted by Emportal, Jeremic stated that "establishing diplomatic relations between the Montenegrin government and Pristina endangers regional stability and makes establishing the best possible relations with neighbouring countries harder".
Additionally, the friction between Belgrade and Pristina endangered bilateral relations between Serbia and Croatia (EurActiv 12/01/10) ahead of the inauguration of newly-elected Croatian President Ivo Josipovic (EurActiv 11/01/2010), which is set to take place on 18 February 2010.
Serbian President Boris Tadic claimed that Josipovic has to make a clear choice, as he will not attend the ceremony if Kosovar President Fatmir Sejdiju is also present. According to Tadic, this could amount to a silent recognition of Kosovo by Serbia.
Serbia-Kosovo bilateral issues are likely to spill over well beyond Josipovic's inauguration ceremony. Serbia chairs from 1 January 2010 the CEFTA (Central European Free Trade Agreement) council. If a solution is not reached, an impasse might be reached in the running of this body. A thaw is even more urgently required as foreign direct investment (FDI) in Kosovo decreased by 22% in 2009, as reported by online media BalkanInsight.com based on estimates from the Kosovo Central Bank.
Europe's divisions over the status of Kosovo might be detrimental to finding a working compromise, and bilateral tension between Serbia and Kosovo might have troublesome repercussions for cooperation in the whole region.