Balkans: EU-Western Balkans Summit to take place without national symbols because of Kosovo

Balkans: EU-Western Balkans Summit to take place without national symbols because of Kosovo

A summit between the EU and the Western Balkans to be attended by more than 30 European leaders will be held on Wednesday via teleconference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Summit, to be chaired by Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, will be attended by the 27 leaders of the European Union, senior officials of the EU and international organizations, as well as by the Presidents or Prime Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Regarding the participation of Kosovo, in order not to provoke controversy as it has not been recognized by five European countries, it was decided that the leaders sit in front of a neutral panel without the symbols of the states and their names.

According to news reports, this formation was agreed upon following an explicit request from Spain “which does not wish to attend meetings in which Kosovo is presented as an independent state”.

For the same reason, in the finalized statement the expression “partners in the Western Balkans” is used to avoid the word “states”. Along with Spain, Kosovo’s independence is not recognized in the EU by Romania, Greece, Cyprus and Slovakia. The Republic of Kosovo will be represented at the Summit by President Hashim Thaci. /ibna