Central and Eastern Europe
COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
Brussels, 18 February 2008
The Council adopted the following conclusions: "On 17 February 2008 the Kosovo Assembly adopted a resolution which declares Kosovo to be independent. The Council takes note that the resolution commits Kosovo to the principles of democracy and equality of all its citizens, the protection of the Serb and other minorities, the protection of the cultural and religious heritage and international supervision. The Council welcomes the continued presence of the international community based on UN Security Council resolution 1244.
The Council notes that Member States will decide, in accordance with national practice and international law, on their relations with Kosovo.
The Council recalls the European Union's longstanding commitment to the stability of the Western Balkans region. The Council reiterates the European Union's readiness to play a leading role in strengthening stability in the region, and recalls the European Union's commitments contained in the conclusions of the European Council of 14 December 2007, as well as the agreement to Joint Actions establishing an ESDP Police and Rule of Law mission and appointing an EU Special Representative in Kosovo. The European Union will continue to cooperate with the UN, KFOR, OSCE and other international actors in order to preserve stability in the region. The Council reaffirms its commitment to fully and effectively support the European perspective for the Western Balkans. It asks the Commission to use community instruments to promote economic and political development and to propose to the broader region concrete measures in order to advance in that direction.
The Council reiterates the EU's adherence to the principles of the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, inter alia the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity and all UN Security Council resolutions. It underlines its conviction that in view of the conflict of the 1990s and the extended period of international administration under SCR 1244, Kosovo constitutes a sui generis case which does not call into question these principles and resolutions."
Kosove or Kosova (Serbian: Kosovo i Metohija, also Kosmet) is a province in southern Serbia which has been under United Nations administration since 1999. While Serbia's nominal sovereignty is recognised by the international community, in practice Serbian governance in the province is virtually non-existent. The province is governed by the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the local Provisional Institutions of Self-Government, with security provided by the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR).
Kosovo borders Montenegro, Albania and the Republic of Macedonia. The mountainous province's capital and largest city is Pristina. Kosovo has a population of around two million people, predominately ethnic Albanians, with smaller populations of Serbs, Turks, Bosniaks and other ethnic groups.
The province is the subject of a long-running political and territorial dispute between the Serbian (and previously, the Yugoslav) government and Kosovo's Albanian population. International negotiations began in 2006 to determine the final status of Kosovo. It is widely expected that the talks will lead to some form of independence.
Kosovo Map - Greater Serbia Map (with Kosovo)