Spanish PM decides to snub EU-Balkans summit over Kosovo
Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy will definitely not participate in the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia, due to his country's position on Kosovo.Source: Tanjug
Spain does not recognize the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo.
"It was clear from the beginning that Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy does not want to attend due to Spain's position on Kosovo's status," Tanjug reported on Tuesday, citing a senior EU official.
A lower ranked diplomatic officials will still represent Spain at the summit, it has been announced in Brussels.
On the other hand, spokesperson for the Bulgarian EU presidency Genoveva Chervenkova said today that "participation of Kosovo (in the summit) will be in line with the demands of the protocol."
Radio Free Europe is reporting that Chervenkova said Rajoy would "arrive in Bulgaria on Tuesday."
The summit it to be held on Thursday, May 17, and according to previous reports, Rajoy did not rule out attending an informal dinner a day earlier, on Wednesday.
At the end of April, Madrid ensured that a joint declaration that will be announced in Sofia is signed only by EU member-states, and not candidates and potential candidates. The purpose was to avoid having the signature of the Spanish prime minister on the same document as the signatures of officials of a territory that has proclaimed itself to be a state - i.e, of Kosovo.
In late March, Rajoy told his Bulgarian counterpart, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency and will host the summit, that he would "have problems with the Balkan summit in Sofia," and "threatened not to come because of Kosovo."
In January, Spain sent a letter in the form of a non-pepper ahead of the adoption of EU's enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans, to block the mention of Kosovo in that context, but also of use of the term "Balkan Six" - because it treats Kosovo as a state.