Kosovo must be recognized by Europe, says EU parliament
Only 5 out of the 27 EU member states do not recognize Kosovo, either in solidarity with Serbia or so as not to create a precedent for their own separatist areas.Strasbourg -- The European Parliament on Thursday called for all EU nations to recognize Kosovo as independent of Serbia, something which a handful have not done.
In a non-binding vote, the EU deputies backed the call in an amendment to a wider bill by 281 votes to 229.
So far, 22 of the 27 EU member states -- including Britain, France, Germany and Italy -- have formally recognized the mainly ethnic-Albanian Kosovo, which announced its independence from Belgrade last February.
The holdouts are Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia, Spain and Romania, either in solidarity with Serbia or so as not to create a precedent for their own separatist areas.
The parliament in Strasbourg also hailed the "successful deployment" of a European police and justice mission (EULEX) to Kosovo, which began operations in December, taking over some of the functions of the UN mission that has been there since 1999.
While welcoming the improvement of the security situation in Kosovo, the EU deputies called on the government there to promote co-existence and dialogue between the Albanian and Serb communities.
Kosovo seceded from Serbia on February 17, 2008. So far, 54 countries, including the United States as well as most of the European Union, have recognized it.
Serbia, which says the split is a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity under international law, won UN General Assembly backing last October to challenge its legality before the world court.
After the EU parliament approved the amendment by a relatively narrow margin, the overall bill was passed with an overwhelming majority.