EU-Balkans declaration to be signed only by EU states

Spain has vetoed a draft text of a joint declaration planned for publication during the EU-Western Balkans summit in Bulgaria in May, El Pais is reporting.

Source: B92
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(Getty Images, file)
(Getty Images, file)

According to the Spanish newspaper, "the reason is not the EU foreign policy" - instead the goal is to avoid having the name and the signature of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy "on the same document, at the same level" as that of the Kosovo leader.

And although later in the day on Monday Tanjug reported, citing sources from Brussels and Sofia, that there had been no Spanish veto - the decision to have the document signed only by EU member-states, and not candidates and potential candidates, including the self-proclaimed state of Kosovo, means that Madrid has succeeded in its intention to "isolate Pristina."

Tanjug said it learned in Brussels that the ambassadors of the 28 EU member states, including Spain, "approved a draft declaration for the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia." "The draft declaration has also been approved by Spain's ambassador to the EU and it is up to the member states themselves to accept it," a source in the Bulgarian EU Presidency told Tanjug.

Spain is among five EU member-states that do not recognize Kosovo as independent.

El Pais further wrote on Monday that this information has been confirmed by several diplomatic sources, and that Rajoy will most likely leave Sofia and the summit before a meeting that will be attended by top representatives of Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, but also of Kosovo.

The Spanish prime minister will be present only a day earlier, during an informal dinner with other leaders of EU member states.

Rajoy previously said he could attend the dinner - as for the next day, he said: “We have an important issue. Some speak of enlargement with countries which are not recognized, including by Spain. This causes us some worry."

According to the website EURACTIV.com, the Spanish prime minister in late March told his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borissov that he "has a problem with the summit in Sofia" and that he "threatened not to attend if Kosovo participates."

Early this year, Spain opposed some parts of EU's enlargement strategy, because it put Kosovo on the same plane as former Yugoslav republics and Albania.

Spain sent the EU a non-paper ahead of the adoption of the strategy, blocking any mention of Kosovo in this context - but also the use of the term "WB6 (Western Balkans 6)" - because it refers to Kosovo as a state.

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