According to AKI:
Kosovo: Focus — Prospect of secession alarms Europe- - - - - - - - -
Majority ethnic Albanians in breakaway Kosovo are gearing up for a declaration of independence from Serbia — strenuously opposed by Serbs but long awaited by most Kosovans.
Not all European countries share the enthusiasm of the United States, Italy and other Western countries for Kosovo’s secession that has buoyed its independence drive.
The US has signalled that it intends to recognise Kosovo immediately after its declares independence. But Belgrade, Moscow, Athens and Madrid will not be celebrating the birth of a Kosovan state.
While Serbs must accept losing permanently the territory that it views as the birthplace of their state, Russia, Spain and Greece all fear that an independent Kosovo will set a dangerous precedent.
“Giving independence to Pristina [the Kosovan capital] will have a dangerous effect on many geographical areas,” Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has stated.
Spain’s government has already announced it does not intend to recognise Kosovo as an independent state immediately. It has threatened to use its veto at the European Union unless it receives “very serious guarantees”.
Greece, Cyprus, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania have also said they will not recognise Kosovo immediately
The EU was expected to launch the deployment of the European Union’s planned 2,000-strong police and justice mission on Saturday unless the 27 EU countries raised a last-minute objection, diplomats said on Friday.
Ten diplomats from Spain’s foreign ministry in the capital, Madrid, have been tasked with scrutinising all the documentation relating to Kosovo’s planned declaration of independence to be presented to governments.
“To gain Spain’s approval, any document by the United Nations and European Union or any other organisation on the independence of Kosovo must state explicitly that it is an exceptional and unique decision owing to the fact that Kosovans were subjected to ethnic cleansing,” a Spanish diplomat told Adnkronos International (AKI).
Spain’s fears over Kosovo are entirely understandable. The country has at least three regions where some members of the population want independence: Aragon, the Basque region, and Catalonia.
Granting independence to Kosovo because 90 percent of its population speaks a different language, would open the door to the secession of these three regions, and possibly the Canary Islands and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco.
Spain is not the only European country that has problems with its minorities. Almost every European country has a separatist movement waiting for the most opportune moment to claim its right to independence and secession.
In France, the central government has to contend with the Bretons, in Britain, there is the issue of Northern Ireland, Belgium has its conflict beween the Flemish and the Walloons, while the government of the Republic of Cyprus must contend with the Turkish-occupied north in the divided island.
In Eastern Europe, the situation is even more volatile. Romania and Slovakia must deal with significant Hungarian minorities, while Bulgaria has a sizeable Turkish minority.
Macedonia, whose population is 30 percent ethnic Albanian, and Greece, with its Macedonian minority and Poland with its German one, also fear Kosovo’s independence.
The ripples from Kosovo could spread far beyond the region — to Scandinavia, the former Soviet republics, Turkey, Iran and Iraq, to Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, Tibet, China.
“Why should the international community reserve treatment for the Kosovans that could be granted elsewhere, for example in Abkhazia,” Sergej Bagapsh, president of the breakway region of Georgia asked earlier this week.
Hat tip: insubria.