Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Kosovo Independence: What Can the World Expect? | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 18.02.2008
Kosovo's declaration of independence has already sent tremors through the international community. DW-WORLD.DE spoke to Balkans expert Stefan Wolff about what Kosovo and the world can expect in the near future.

Stefan Wolff is a professor of political science at Nottingham University in the UK, specializing in the prevention and settlement of ethnic conflicts and in post-conflict reconstruction in deeply divided and war-torn societies. He has extensive expertise in Northern Ireland, the Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe, and has also worked on a wide range of other conflicts elsewhere, including the Middle East, Africa, and Central, South and Southeast Asia.


DW-WORLD.DE: Is Kosovo prepared for independence in terms of infrastructure, governance, security and stability?


Stefan Wolff: Kosovo has most of the important institutions of statehood and democratic governance in place, but at the same time these institutions will require continued international support for some time. This is accepted by both the Kosovars and  the West and is the background against which we need to understand the EU mission for Kosovo -- as external assistance to consolidate existing institutional structures to enable Kosovars to take care of developing their economy, infrastructure and ensure security and stability.


The decision to declare independence is not a unanimous one within the population. What minorities in Kosovo have most to lose from this independence? 


In principle, all minorities and the majority Albanian population can gain from the clarification of Kosovo's international status, not least in the sense that they will all benefit from economic development. Prime Minister Thaci made some very important gestures yesterday towards reconciliation with Serbs in Kosovo. The Arthisaari plan offers important mechanisms to Serbs to preserve and develop their identity, gives them opportunities to play a meaningful part in the political process in Kosovo and retain ties with Serbia. From this perspective, there is no need for conflict between the two main population groups, but that does not mean that extremists on either side will refrain from violence and provocations. So far, this risk has been contained, but not eliminated.

by Fran on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:29:35 AM EST
Serbia, Russia Move to Annul Kosovo Independence | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 18.02.2008
Calling it "illegal," Russia and Serbia stepped up their efforts to annul Kosovo's independence Monday, Feb. 18 with both countries calling emergency sessions of parliament to discuss their next moves.

Russian deputies gathered to finalize a text on the "consequences" of Kosovo's declaration while preparing an official condemnation of the act and urging UN chief Ban Ki-moon to take a tougher stance.


"The Kosovo example could plunge the world into chaos," senior parliamentarian Mikhail Margelov was quoted by ITAR-TASS as saying. The independence declaration goes against "international law and morality.... This is a dangerous precedent," he said.

by Fran on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:30:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indonesia says it does not recognize Kosovo's independence - AOL News
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesia said Monday it does not recognize Kosovo's declaration of independence, a move that reflects Jakarta's concern that the pronouncement could energize its own separatist movements.

Indonesia, a sprawling country of some 18,000 islands, saw East Timor break away in 1999 and is battling widespread secessionist sentiment in the Papua region and a smaller nonviolent movement in the Maluku islands.

The government said in a statement it regretted Kosovo's unilateral declaration and hoped it would not bring about fresh tension and conflict in the Balkan region. It said U.N.-backed principles of upholding the territorial integrity of developing nations must be supported.

"The government of Indonesia will follow closely developments in Kosovo, but it is not yet in a position to recognize this unilateral declaration of independence," the statement said.

Russia and Serbia have declared Sunday's declaration by the Kosovo parliament illegal and said it could spur independence movements in the region and the world. But most of the 27 nations in the European Union are expected to quickly endorse the pronouncement.
by Fran on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:32:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Khaleej Times Online - China `concerned', Australia backs Kosovo split

PARIS - Australia on Monday became the lastest nation to welcome Kosovo's declaration of independence, joining the United States and several European powers, despite fierce objections from Serbia and Russia.

But China was among countries unhappy with Kosovo's breakaway from Serbia, declaring it was "deeply concerned" about the future of peace in the region.

"The unilateral approach by Kosovo may cause a series of consequences and lead to severe negative influences on the peace and stability of the Balkan region," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a statement.

"China expresses deep concern about this."

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said diplomatic recognition of the new state would be offered soon.

by Fran on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:33:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC NEWS | Europe | EU splits on Kosovo recognition
European Union foreign ministers have failed to forge a joint position on Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia.

While France confirmed that it would recognise independence, as expected, several member states led by Spain made clear their legal concerns.

US President George W Bush said Kosovo's people were "independent" but stopped short of formal recognition.

Russia has backed Serbia in its refusal to recognise Kosovo's secession.

About 10,000 students protested in Belgrade on Monday, and thousands of the city's taxi-drivers went on strike in protest at the declaration of independence, while thousands of ethnic Serbs in Kosovo's enclaves also rallied.

by Fran on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:33:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU remains split on Kosovo - EUobserver.com
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The question of whether the 27-nation European Union will be able to come up with a unified reaction to the self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo currently rests with Spain, as the country is refusing to sign up to a common position drafted by the Slovenian EU presidency.

According to a draft document discussed by EU foreign ministers, "the council noted that member states can decide, in accordance with national practice and legal norms, to establish their relations with Kosovo as an independent state under international supervision."

However, Spain has refused to agree to the text and has instead tabled its own proposal. Cyprus also strongly opposes the current text proposed by the Slovenian EU presidency.

"The council notes that member states will decide, in accordance with national practice and international law, on their relations with Kosovo," reads the Madrid-sponsored paper.
by Fran on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 at 11:35:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Prime Minister Thaci made some very important gestures yesterday towards reconciliation with Serbs in Kosovo.

Meh. Of course he did. So did, towards their own minorities, all the nation states born out of the Paris Peace Conferences after WWI.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 05:03:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stefan Wolff: Kosovo has most of the important institutions of statehood and democratic governance in place
I find that hard to believe.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 07:20:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't find it unbelievable. But what's on paper and what exists in practice can be strongly different.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 19th, 2008 at 12:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series