The possibility of Kosovo declaring independence unilaterally will keep the European Union foreign ministers busy this Friday. A split over the breakaway Serbian province would undermine the credibility of the bloc’s emerging common foreign policy.
Leaders of Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority have vowed to declare independence if new last-ditch talks with Belgrade fail to produce an agreement by a December 10 deadline. The German EU mediator Wolfgang Ischinger has already warned that chances of a deal are slim.
Along with the United States, Europe wants an agreement between Serbs and Albanians backed by a U.N. Security Council mandate. Failing that, if Serbia resists, backed by U.N. veto-holder Russia, the EU states would have to decide whether to recognise Kosovo sovereignty.
Among those seen having most difficulty in doing so are Spain, Hungary, Greece, Slovakia, Cyprus and Romania. This is either because of their geographical proximity to the Balkans or due to fears it could encourage separatists in their own countries. An EU split over Kosovo recognition could prevent the EU from taking over supervision duties from the United Nations.