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Spanish reactions to Kosovo's independence

Two days after Kosovo's declaration of independence in spite of Serbia's opposition, the debate about the merits of recognising it as a state is still raging. According to the website Kosova Thanks You, so far 17 countries have recognized the new Republic of Kosovo and 34 others are ready to do so. Within the European Union, countries such as France, UK, Germany or Italy have recognized it, while others such as Slovakia and Spain have strongly opposed it as they consider that the declaration does not respect international law.

However, Spain vehemently protested to Russia a few days ago over remarks by President Vladimir Putin in which he likened the situation in Kosovo to that in Spain's Basque and Catalan regions. For the Spanish government, Kosovo has nothing to do either with Catalonia or with the Basque Country.

Bloggers in Catalonia have been debating the issue intensely during the last few days. While supporters of an independent Catalonia have welcomed Kosovo's independence with campaigns like adding a banner recognizing the new state or including the title “Today Kosovo, Tomorrow Catalonia” in as many blogs as possible, other Catalan bloggers agree with the position of the Spanish government.

Diari del votant anònim [cat] thinks that Scotland is a much better model to admire, and Joan Safont [cat] thinks that Kosovo should not be dismissed as an example to follow by other European regions with aspirations of sovereignty:

It is not comparable with Catalonia or the Basque Country. However, I think that any process towards sovereignty in Europe should take it into consideration. That's the reason why we are so repeatedly told that the two cases are different.
[...] Kosovo might not be our mirror, but every time that a new state says freely what and how it wants to be, the world becomes freer.

Narcís Sastre [cat], however, is not sure about what to think:

I can't help but having contradictory feelings. On one hand, as a defender of people's right to self-determination, I am happy for Kosovo, but I can't help feeling a certain empathy with Serbia, who is witnessing the loss of a territory with a great symbolic and historical value.

The Basque government, on the other hand, expressed its enthusiasm even before Kosovo's declaration of independence considering it an example of “how to solve identity and belonging conflicts in a peaceful and democratic way”. Basque senator Iñaki Anasagasti also applauded Kosovo's move in his blog [es]:

The best news of the week have been the independence of Kosovo. Not a single bullet shot, not a single kale borroka action, with a new president visiting the Serbs in Kosovo assuring them that the new country in which everybody will live without discrimination and with respect.

These statements have stirred controversy on the issue and have been rejected by a wide array of Spanish blogs and forums, that consider that Basque politicians like Anasagasti “live in a parallel reality”. A user of the social portal Menéame ironically says:

So in Kosovo there was no genocide, there was no bombing by NATO, it's not an occupied country in which only the presence of foreign forces guarantees the peace, there are no old hatreds… all of that took place in my imagination.

basque selfdetermination
Photo by Baxerrian, used with permission.

For Francisco Veiga [es], what is at stake in Europe after Kosovo's independence is not that it may create a precedent for other territories, but the type of precedent that it is:

[...] What is being debated here is not the old byzantine-politological discussion about the intangibility of really existing borders or the hypothetical “domino effect” on Iberian sovereignty movements. The issue at stake is another.
The central problem [...] is that Washington and Brussels are recognizing, de facto and de jure, the validity of the armed way to achieve nationalist political objectives in the European continent. Or more precisely, the old basic principle of “action-reaction” of guerrilla and terrorist groups since more than a century. Because that's what is shown by the fact that the current Albanian-Kosovar Prime Minister of Kosovo is Hashin Thaçi, a former guerrilla commander of UÇK whose code name was “Snake.” Or that another Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, also a former military leader of UÇK, is being tried in the ICTY in The Hague for War Crimes.

He also adds, in his latest post, that the EU has unknowingly managed to align most Balkan countries in their lack of enthusiasm for Kosovo's declaration of independence, and criticizes EU's role in the process:

In fact, EU's behavior in the Balkans doesn't differ all that much from the one that European hegemonic powers would have adopted a century ago. Actually, it's the perfect anniversary: 1908-2008. The first date marks the annexation by the Austro-Hungarian Empire of what was then the protectorate of Bosnia-Hercegovina, which led to the Great War five years later.

Although in his blog Cartas del Este [es] Basque professor Asier Blas didn't support Kosovo's independence, he is is optimistic about the benefits of the new state of Kosovo for its Serbian minority:

At the end of the day [Kosovo] is not for me and not for you, not for Albania nor Serbia, it's for Kosovars. And in the long term this move especially favors the Serbs, because if Kosovo manages to establish itself as an entity with its own uniqueness, the ghosts of a future Greater Albania will be left behind [...]
We should add to all this the opportunities that the future membership to the European Union will bring. If it happens not too far away in the future, the outcome will be that the Albanian and Serbian populations will have a very free relationship with Albania and Serbia. Newspapers from Serbia will reach Serbian-Kosovars, as well as TV stations and other cultural products. There will not be boundaries and regional economic integration will be underway, which will make it possible to play down the limits of the current states.

  • http://www.ljubisabojic.com/ Ljubisa Bojic

    Elia Varela Serra,

    Like I did with Veronica I am thanking you for sharing all the comments of Spanish blogosphere in defense of international law and territorial integrity of Serbia as a democratic and modern country integrating with west and east.

    We are eager to connect with America, EU, Russia and others democratic countries.

    Kosovo is Serbia!

    Best regards,
    Ljubisa.

  • http://makgregory.blogspirit.com M@k, el Buscaimposibles
  • Adrian

    More than four IIIyrian Entities compose Albania.
    LABEATS, TAULANTS, ALBANS, ENKELEIS, DARASETS and KAONS.
    All of them speaks Illyrian language but with different dialects. Three first has a very distinct Illyrian dialect named GEGE and the rest has another Illyrian dialect named TOSKE.
    On 1912 they united in one single state and agreed to be named Eagle’s Land. SHQIPERIA.
    The foreign “SKOLARS” named Albania based on the name of only one of the Entities.
    This was not only Ignorance but also a big mistake of these “very educated Scholars“.
    The situation then was so critical for SHQIPETARET, so they accepted any injustice and compromise. This was the big price they pay to gain the independence. Of course many other Illyrian entities was ignored. This has been done in purpose to use Illyrian territories as a trade merchandise to please slavics, which in return were used in two wars. The Slavics paid their price. They lost 56 million people 1908 – 1946. Illyrian paid bigger price. They were spread over 5 different states.
    It’s about time to recognize the historical right of Kosova (Dardania) to have its destiny fulfilled-That is full independence. Kosova never was a Serbian province. It was there, since the times of birth of European civilization, a very distinct Dardanian/llyrian identity. Always populated by Dardanias who, although under constant pressure of forcefully migration by Serbian shovinism, Tito’s Yugoslavia & Milloshevic’s Serbia, still make up 92% of the population. They speak ilirian language with the dialect GEGE. Serbs always have been a minority there. We know that Serbs appeared in Balkans (then llyria) only by the 6th Century AD. They have always been a minority and ‘the story’ of Kosova being the Heartland of Serbia is just a pure Serbian nationalist fantasy. Facts Speak Louder Than Words and Serbian’s Lies Will Collapse by Themselves. Serbs always have been considered as oppressors there, not just by Albanian majority, but also by other ethnic groups too. Serbs just occupied Kosova during the rise of the Serbian nationalism early 20th century from Ottomans, who by then were loosing the Balkans after 500 years of occupation. Now Kosova should be Free!
    To find the answer for the question “do you think Kosovo’s independence will strengthen separatist movements elsewhere”, please refer to:
    http://www.acesofww2.com/germany/aces/Hartmann.htm
    Erich Hartman – top ace of all the time. German Luftwaffe Bf 109 Pilot.
    Near the end of WWII, in early May 1945, Hartmann, then Gruppenkommandeur of famous Jagdgeschwader 52, and his Commodore, Hermann Graf, ground crew, family members, and other civilians, who had joined the squadron, seeking protection approaching Russian army, moved west in direction of territory already occupied by US troops. On May 8th, 1945, the soldiers and civilians surrendered to US troops in the region between Bavaria (German province) and Czech border. But on May 17th, the US Army delivered all of these German troops and civilians to the Red Army. How did the Russian troops treat the civilians? They tortured, raped German woman, children at least 12 years old. Some woman were shot after the rapes. Others were not so lucky. A twelve year old girl whose mother had been raped and shoot being raped by several solders. She died from these acts soon afterward. Then more Russian came, and it began all over again. During the night, entire German families committed suicide with men killing their wives and daughters, then themselves. This is the way the slavics treat the human been, the innocent civilians. This is the way the Serbs treated innocent Croatian, Bosnian and Dardanian civilians. If any entity of human been will be treated like that, then they are in title to ask and gain the independence.

  • nick

    Respectfully,….
    I do not agree with “KOSOVO IS SERBIA”.
    I think this is a medieval Way of thinking. Kosovo is for people that live there, and is not property of Serbs or Americans.

    PS. I want to ask a question : What’s the percentage of Serbs that ever visited their “HOLY !!??” Land, Kosovo, at least once in their life time ??(forget about living in their Holy Land !) Can, please, anybody tell me!

    PS #2 : I asked this question (in the streets of Belgrade last year… myself )to 384 random people I chosed and not a single one have ever visit Kosovo ( 100% ! )
    Is this strange…………

    • Nikola Curcic

      Bullshit… Texas, Porto Rico, Scotland… are also property of people who leaves that but there are not independent and not leaded by war crime terrorist such “Independent Kosovo”. Kosovo is part of Serbia !

  • Alex V

    I know, the poor Germans of World War 2. All they were doing is trying to exterminate all the Jewish people of Europe, and the evil Slavs stopped them. Serbs fought with Croats, and Slovenians with the allies as Partisans, while Albania embraced Italian facism. Yugoslavia secretly helped smuggle fighter aircraft to Israel in 1949. The actual truth of medevil Kosovo is

    - Serbs lived in Kosovo form 7th century to 1389
    - After losing to the Ottoman empire, Serbs retreated to Northern Serbia, now the province of Vojvodina.
    - Albanians moved into Kosovo and settled for the next 300 years
    - Serbs, encouraged by the Russian empire, and kingdom Bulgaria, and many other southern european kingdoms together sent the Ottomans from Kosovo and southeast Europe
    -Serbs started settling back into Kosovo
    -Bulgaria and Serbia fought “the 10 years war”
    in the late 1800s, early 1900s
    -After world war 1 the kingdom of Slovens, Croats, and Serbs was established.
    -1941 Nazi germany, and Hungary invaded the kingdom, the Nazis made Croatia a satelite state, with the Ustace ruling. Ustace massacered Serbs, Romas, Communists, and Jews. Over 300 000 Jews, Serbs, Roma peoples were killed by the Ustace during all of world war 2.
    -Titos partisans along with the allies defeated the Nazis in the kingdom and in 1945 ” Yugoslavia” was established as a communist country.

    The difference is, Croations, Serbs, Slovens fought against the Nazis and were defeated by them, while Albania embraced Facism with no fighting. Instead of listening to me or the other guy, check wikipedia, a world war 2 historian, or your school history textbook. I

    Btw Illyrians were settlers in East balkans, the west Balkans was Dalmatia. So, no they were not originally in Kosovo, and to say that they were always there is lies. Celts, Monguls, Slavs, and so many other settlers and tribes have lived in Kosovo at 1 time or another.

  • mirsad

    WE SUPPORT U.

    CATALONIA KOSOVA FOREVER

  • Nikola Curcic

    Catalonia is new German bitch such was Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia…

  • bisli

    Kosova and Catalunia independent, goodbye SS…

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