Spain now recognizes Kosovo’s passports, the head of its diplomacy confirmed on Monday, but firmly sticks to its line of non-recognition of its independence even if it will “never be an obstacle to dialogue” between Pristina and the EU .
An exemption regime allowing holders of Kosovar passports to travel to the Schengen area without visas came into force on January 1 and effectively led to recognition of the Kosovar passport by Madrid.
Until now, Spain was the only one of the five EU countries not recognizing the independence of the former Serbian province to refuse entry to holders of a Kosovar passport even if they had a visa for the Schengen zone.
“Spain applies this measure (of visa exemption) as a member of the Schengen area,” Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares told the press.
But “Spain’s position has not changed. Spain still does not recognize the sovereignty or independence of Kosovo because we do not recognize unilateral declarations of independence,” added Mr. Albares, whose country faces secessionist demands in the Basque Country or Catalonia.
If it stands firmly on this position, “Spain will never be an obstacle to dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina” and “between Pristina and the European Union” and “we support” Brussels’ efforts to “promote this dialogue”, the minister insisted.
Spain is, along with Cyprus, Greece, Romania and Slovakia, one of five EU countries that does not recognize Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
The Kosovo authorities welcomed Madrid’s recognition of the Kosovar passport on Saturday. “The good news continues for our citizens and our country,” said Kosovar Deputy Prime Minister Besnik Bislimi on Facebook.
Kosovo, with a population of 1.8 million, presented its official application for EU membership in December 2022. A possible recognition of his status as a candidate would only be the beginning of a long process, complicated by the fact that the independence of the territory proclaimed by Pristina in 2008 is still not recognized by Belgrade.
This article is originally published on lalibre.be