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

Pol Vila Sarriá 1  und Agon Demjaha 2
  • 1 Trans European Policy Studies Association, , Brussels
  • 2 University of Tetova,


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.

Falls das inline PDF nicht korrekt dargestellt ist, können Sie das PDF hier herunterladen.

  • - Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo, Advisory Opinion, I.C.J. (2010, May).

  • - Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in Respect of Kosovo (2009, April). Written statement of the Kingdom of Spain. https://www.icj-cij.org/files/case-related/141/15644.pdf (accessed March 27 2018).

  • - Armakolas, I. and J. Ker-Lindsay (2017). Lack of Engagement? Surveying the Spectrum of EU Member State Policies towards Kosovo. Kosovo Foundation for Open Society, pp. 1-59.

  • - El Diario (2018, November). Borrell subraya que España no va a reconocer a Kosovo “porque lo diga un director general del COI”. https://www.eldiario.es/politica/Borrell-Espana-reconocer-Kosovo-COI_0_837466304.html (accessed on 27 March 2019).

  • - El Mundo (2008, February). Moratinos compara la independencia de Kosovo con la invasión de Irak.https://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2008/02/18/internacional/1203325230.html (accessed on 19 March 2019).

  • - El Mundo (2009, December). Moratinos, Ciudadano de Honor de Belgrado.https://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2009/12/12/espana/1260651393.html (accessed on 20 March 2019).

  • - El País (2008, February). El Gobierno vasco dice que Kosovo supone una lección para resolver los conflictos de identidad.https://elpais.com/internacional/2008/02/17/actualidad/1203202811_850215.html (accessed on 23 March 2019).

  • - Gross Leon, B. (2008, February). La posición española sobre Kosovo. CincoDías: El País Economía.

  • - France 24 (2018, December). Catalan leader slammed for urging ‘Slovenian route’ to secession. https://www.france24.com/en/20181210-catalan-leader-slammed-urging-slovenian-route-secession (accessed on March 27 2019).

  • - International Crisis Group (2007). Kosovo: No Good Alternatives to the Ahtisaari Plan. Europe Report, no.182, pp. 1-48.

  • - Kosovo Foundation for Open Society (2012). Kosovo Calling, International Conference to Launch Position Papers on Kosovo’s Relation with EU and Regional Non-recognising Countries, pp. 1-177.

  • - Morina, D. (2018, November). Flag Ban in Spain Highlights Kosovo’s Sporting Handicap, Balkan Insight.

  • - Official Gazette of the Congress of Spain. IX legislature (2008, May) http://www.congreso.es/public_oficiales/L9/CONG/BOCG/D/D_010.PDF (accessed March 25 2019).

  • - Official Gazette of the Congress of Spain. IX legislature. September 2010. http://www.congreso.es/public_oficiales/L9/CONG/BOCG/D/D_441.PDF (accessed on October 3 2018).

  • - Perritt, H. H. (2010). The road to independence for Kosovo: a chronicle of the Ahtisaari Plan, International Affairs, Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-, (Vol. 86, No. 4, pp. 1016-1019).

  • - Pouw, B. (2016). The Recognition of Kosovo: A Political Affair. Leiden University. Political Science Department.

  • - Reuters (2008, February). EU unites on Kosovo despite split on recognition https://www.reuters.com/article/us-kosovo-serbia-eu/eu-calls-for-calm-unity-over-kosovo-idUSL1836995020080218 (accessed March 20 2019).

  • - Reuters (2008, February). Spain says won’t recognise Kosovo Independence https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSL18645227 (accessed March 20 2019)

  • - Reuters (2010, July). Kosovo independence declaration deemed legal https://www.reuters.com/article/us-serbia-kosovo/kosovo-independence-declaration-deemed-legal-idUSTRE66L01720100722 (accessed March 25 2019).

  • - Torra i Pla, Q. (2016). Els últims 100 metres: El full de ruta per guanyar la República Catalana (The last 100 metres: the roadmap to achieve the Catalan Republic). Angle Editorial: el fil d’Ariadna.

  • - Vila Sarria, P. (2017, November). Catalonia cannot be compared to Kosovo’s fight for independence. Kosovo 2.0.

  • - Vila Sarria, P. and A. Demjaha (2019, March). Kosovo: once años batallando por su reconocimiento (Kosovo: eleven years fighting for its recognition). Atalayar.

  • - Weslau, F. (2017). Spain’s Kosovo-Catalonia conundrum. European Council on Foreign Relations.

  • - Mr. José Zaragoza Alonso, PSOE MP in the Congress of Spain. Interview with the author. 27 July 2018, Madrid (Spain).

  • - Mr. Jordi Xucla i Costa, PDeCAT MP in the Congress of Spain. Interview with the author. 12 September 2018, Madrid (Spain).

  • - Mr. Jordi Martí, ERC Senator in the Senate of Spain. Interview with the author. 20 September 2018, Barcelona (Spain).

  • - Mr. Albin Kurti, Secretary General and MP of Vetëvendosje in the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo. Interview with the author. 24 September 2018, Prishtina (Kosovo).

  • - Mr. Memli Krasniqi, PDK MP in the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo. Interview with the author. 24 September 2018, Pristina (Kosovo).

  • - Mr. Enver Hoxhaj, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo and PDK MP in the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo. Interview with the author. 26 September 2018, Prishtina (Kosovo).

  • - Mr. Javi Lopez, PSOE MEP. Interview with the author. 11 October 2018. Brussels (Belgium).


Zeitschrift + Hefte