EU regrets Kosovo's decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem

The European Union voiced regret on Tuesday (2 February) at Kosovo’s decision to open an embassy in Jerusalem, made as part of a broader deal brokered by the previous US administration, saying it “diverges” the tiny Balkan country from the EU position.

“This decision is diverging Kosovo from the EU position on Jerusalem”, said EU spokesperson Peter Stano, pointing out that all embassies of the EU countries in Israel, as well as the EU delegation, are located in Tel Aviv, based on the corresponding UN Security Council resolutions and European Council decisions.

Stano added that the final status of Jerusalem as a future capital of both states has to be found through negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Read More: Three Palestinian prisoners continue their open hunger strike

“Let me remind that Kosovo has identified EU integration as its strategic priority and is expected to act in line with this commitment,” he said.

A Kosovar journalist asked what could be the consequences for Pristina, and what gave the EU the right to ask Kosovo to get in the ranks while it is not recognised by five EU countries, and therefore cannot become an EU candidate or be granted visa liberalisation.

Read More: Israeli forces open fire at fishermen, farmers in Gaza

Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain don’t recognise the former Yugoslav province as an independent country.

Stano said it was logical that the EU would expect Kosovo to progress on its EU accession path by aligning with EU policies and principles. He added that from 2008 to 2020, the EU has spent €2 billion in helping Kosovo to develop.

Stano also said that Serbia, which had also announced opening an embassy in Jerusalem as part of the same Trump-brokered deal, had not made any concrete moves since the initial announcement.

The occupation authorities and Kosovo signed an agreement on Monday to establish diplomatic relations between the two countries. During the virtual ceremony, the Israeli Foreign Minister, Gabi Ashkenazi, said that he had received a request to open an embassy for Kosovo in Jerusalem and that he had agreed to this request.

The European Union had repeatedly announced its refusal to transfer European or other embassies to Jerusalem before reaching an agreement on the city's future.

Your support helps protect the Days of Palestine’s independence and it means we can keep delivering quality journalism that’s open for everyone around the world. Every contribution, however big or small, is so valuable for our future.