Kosovo-Spain Relations and the Dilemmas on the Problem of Non-Recognition

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Abstract

Eleven years after Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence, Spain’s position vis-à-vis Kosovo has not only not varied, but it has become stronger, turning Madrid into the leader of the Kosovo non recognizers club within the EU. This paper analyses Kosovo-Spain relations in the last eleven years. More specifically, the paper examines the reasons behind the non-recognition of Kosovo and the approach of the Spanish governments toward Kosovo’s statehood. This is followed by a thorough analysis on how Kosovo’s path for self-determination played a major role in Catalonia’s quest for independence in 2017.

The empirical research demonstrates that Spain’s main reason not to recognise Kosovo is based on the country’s internal dynamics; namely, Catalonia and the Basque country. Likewise, the paper argues that the Spanish governments throughout the last eleven years have created an analogy between Kosovo and Catalonia; not in their political statements, but in their political decisions, by worsening the almost inexistent diplomatic relations with Kosovo, when the Catalan path for independence was at its highest peak. By the same token, the paper reveals that this position was enhanced and driven by Catalan separatism, that continuously used Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence as a model to further their own path for self-determination. The data provided and analysed in this paper as well as the statements made are based on desk research and seven semi-structured interviews conducted in Prishtina, Brussels, Madrid and Barcelona in 2018.

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