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Feb 252008

EUObserver carries a comment by Peter Sain ley Berry, editor of EuropaWorld. Well worth reading. We quote:

I have still to hear a convincing reason why the status quo could not have been maintained until such time as the whole region joined the European Union.

Which might have been the case had not the Kosovars learned that the USA and its principal European allies would not only back a unilaterally declared independence but would actually throw money at it as well. At that point all hope of a negotiated outcome went out of the window.

The more time gives us a perspective on what happened in Kosovo and the reaction from EU countries, the more difficult to understand the haste. As ley Berry writes: “We Shall All Pay For Kosovo’s Independence.” The price yet to be determined.

Feb 222008

The Grand Duchy of Liechtenstein makes the headlines again. Germany has successful used its intelligence services and paid money in order to get information on a celebrity tax evader in this tax haven between Austria and Switzerland. This has understandably provoked the anger of the Crown Prince Alois who talked about an “unprovoked German attack” on a “miniature state” and told them to clean up their own tax system which, in the royal opinion, is “even worse than Haiti’s.” Ms. Merkel, cool as always, replied that “It would not be good if Liechtenstein was found to be encouraging illegal activities.” In Sweden an influential ex-minister demands that Sweden should stop the accession of Liechtenstein to the Schengen agreement.

You never quite know with Liechtenstein. When their territory was invaded by Switzerland in 2007, they were very Continue reading »

Feb 212008

We never thought that the day would come when we would find ourselves at least in partial agreement with the choleric US ex-ambassador to the UN, Mr. John Bolton. Nevertheless, in an article in The Washington Times , Mr. Bolton and co-authors voice a very sharp criticism against US and European polices towards Kosovo (which had not yet declared independence when the article was written). Not only would an acceptance of the independence be in conflict with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 but it would create a dangerous precedence in Europe and provoke an unnecessary conflict with Russia, thereby making US-Russian cooperation on more important issues very difficult, all according to Mr. Bolton  and friends.

It feels nicer to agree with George Friedman who also stresses the Russian problem but, more importantly, the danger to the hard-won stability within Europe after WWII. The only argument for the secession of Kosovo would be that the Serbian oppression in the 90´s has led to an “idiosyncratic event” which should not give precedence to other separationist Continue reading »

Feb 182008

After the unilateral declaration of independence in Kosovo, countries are now rushing in to recognize the new state. As expected no common EU policy could be formulated. However in a joint declaration of the Foreign Ministers it was stressed that Kosovo was a “unique case” due to the conflicts in the 90′s and the long period of international governance. Since the independence of Kosovo does not meet all the requirements of International Law it would seem necessary to get this uniqueness confirmed and accepted in order to avoid a very dangerous precedence affecting many European countries.

Reuters wrongly states that Sweden is among countries that “joined or were joining the early recognizers.” A Swedish Continue reading »

Feb 152008

Europaportalen reports (SW) that there is disagreement between the Swedish Government and the opposition Social Democrats over the recognition of an independent Kosovo. The Foreign Policy spokesman of the Social Democrats demands an immediate recognition by Sweden at the same time as most other EU-countries. In his view Serbian and Russian attempts to create disunity within the EU would be more difficult the more countries that move  the same time as the USA (!)

The Foreign Minister maintains that the issue must be handled with “silk gloves” – countries that recognize Kosovo without a decision in the Security Council may risk being cited to the International Court.

According to Europaportalen the Council of Ministers will discuss the Kosovo issue on Monday and on Thursday a joint statement by the Commission and the Council is expected.

Feb 152008

The Swedish Foreign Minister, Mr. Carl Bildt, publishes a blog of his own called: “Alla dessa dagar” (“All those days” which is a quotation from a Swedish poem but also the title of the autobiography of a former Social Democratic Finance Minister!). It is often a very interesting document because of the information contained but also because the Minister sometimes expresses more than he can say officially. On some occasions this has got him ínto political trouble but experience has shown that he is the true “Teflon Minister” of the present Government.

On February 14, Mr. Bildt writes about a discussion in the Government the same day (our free-hand translation): “I reported on Balkan…I had discussed this topic with Ljubljana and Washington earlier in the day…There is a nervous tension in the air. The efforts to harmonize views and positions on the challenges we face should, in my opinion, have gone further and been more careful…” Mr. Bildt then goes on to say that the all important questions of International Law,  in particular the basis for the continued international presence, are unclear. Sweden takes those questions very seriously. Continue reading »

Feb 142008

The unilateral declaration of independence in Kosovo is generally expected for the coming weekend or maybe Monday 18. The positions of Serbia and Russia are, of course, well-known. Even if Serbia has declared that war is not an option,  it is of course conceivable that Albanian violence against Serb minorities may result in armed protective action from Belgrade. Serbia has also declared that the EU “police force” -to which Sweden contributes 100 persons- will be regarded as invaders.

As is well known, the EU has not been able to agree on a united policy towards Kosovo. A group of countries with the UK, Germany and France in the lead will immediately recognize the independence.  Romania, Slovaka and Cyprus will not recognize Kosovo. Spain, the Czech Republic and Greece are unwilling to recognize Kosovo’s independence but may eventually do so. Continue reading »