Kosovo: An EU foreign policy success or failure?

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

Recognition of Kosovo’s independence by most EU member states is an “unfortunate solution” because it lacks the backing of the UN Security Council and Serbia’s approval, but the status quo provides for no alternative, argues Stanley Crossick on Blogactiv.

Since foreign policy issues require unanimity among all 27 member states, recognition of Kosovo by the EU as a coherent block was not within grasp, Crossick says, expressing his understanding of the position of those member states who opposed Kosovo’s independence. 

“Neither the EU nor the US has provided any reasonable justification to back this [pro-independence] position,” he says, adding that even the legal basis for the EU rule-of-law mission to Kosovo is legally doubtful. 

It would have been highly desirable to bring the issue before the UN Security Council, which the US, UK and France failed to do in the knowledge that Russia at the very least would have vetoed any resolution recognising Kosovo’s independence, according to the author. 

However, Crossick claims that a UN resolution supported by a large majority – regardless of any vetoes – would have increased the legitimacy, if not the legality, of recognising Kosovo’s independence. T

The blogger also criticises the EU for having dismissed Russia’s concerns too easily, urging the next European Council to reassure the Russians that Kosovo does not set a precedent for other territories and the EU would under no circumstances recognise any breakaway Russian provinces. 

In order to help Kosovo stand on its own two feet, NATO and EU forces have to assure law and order in Kosovo and the international community has to be prepared to provide international financial assistance to Kosovo, perhaps on a permanent basis, according to Crossick. 

Granting EU membership to both Serbia and Kosovo would definitely help facilitate relations between the two countries, Crossick states. 

The blog concludes by saying that Kosovo will not be able to join every international institution and “will not be really independent for years,” becoming the EU’s first protectorate instead. 

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