Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Kosovo

Delivered in Plenary - 4th February 2009

Mr President

The international rush to recognise Kosovo was, in my view, hard to understand. There were plenty of older disputes to resolve that were worthier of the EUís efforts: Kashmir, for example, or Taiwan, or even Somaliland in the Horn of Africa.

Kosovoís declaration of independence has also exposed a schism amongst Member States. There is no way Kosovo can be part of the European Union or the United Nations while some Member States do not recognise its sovereignty. The precedent of Kosovo also provoked Russiaís indignation and recognition of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as states last summer.

The people of the various parts of former Yugoslavia clearly have a right to live in peace and prosperity. We in the European Union have a moral duty to help, but this assistance should never be open-ended. We need to see real reform in Kosovo, genuine efforts to combat organised crime and people-trafficking, and proper protection and equality for minorities, such as the Serbs.

The Commission and the Council must remain vigilant and insistent on tangible progress.