Published: 5 April 2018 Author: Stefan Talmon
On 17 February 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia with the support of Western powers including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France and Germany. Germany was among the first countries to recognize the Republic of Kosovo as an independent State. Ten years later, Kosovo’s independence was recognized by 111 UN member States but was still strongly opposed by the Republic of Serbia. 82 UN member States did not recognize Kosovo as an independent State, including Brazil, China, India, and the Russian Federation. As a result, Kosovo was not admitted to membership of the United Nations.
The European Union (EU) did not hold a common position on the status of Kosovo. While 23 EU member States had accorded recognition to Kosovo, five member States – Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia, Spain and Romania – had not. The unsettled relationship between Belgrade and Pristina and, in particular, Serbia’s active non-recognition policy vis-à-vis Kosovo constituted the main obstacles of the two countries entering the European Union. On the eve of the tenth anniversary of Kosovo’s declaration of independence, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel travelled to Serbia and Kosovo. The purpose of the trip was to underline the Federal Government’s support of Kosovo and Germany’s great interest in the region. On 14 February 2018, during a joint press conference with Kosovo’s Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj in Pristina, Foreign Minister Gabriel made the following statement: (more…)