Only a week before the adoption of the EU’s Enlargement Strategy to the Western Balkans, that is expected to be adopted on 6 February, Spain once again challenged the Strategy, as well as the whole process by strongly opposed the inclusion of Kosovo in it .

In a letter sent to the European Commission, Spain said it is opposing the term WB6 (an abbreviation for the six countries from the Western Balkans) and states that “Kosovo is not part of the enlargement process.”

Madrid sets out its position that a distinction must be made between the EU enlargement process and the procedures and strategies for the Western Balkans, which are part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Between the lines, however, Spain’s concerns over its own crisis with Catalonian autonomy and Madrid’s unwillingness to openly support the unilaterally selfdeclared European state – something that could create a dangerous precedent for Spain – can be read.

If Spain’s comments are taken into account, the EU’s Enlargement Strategy will undermine the credibility of the countries seeking membership. Brussels has already announced the quicker accession of six countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The idea is for these countries to become part of the EU together, but pre-accession talks with Kosovo are questionable. Spain is one of the five EU members that do not recognize Kosovo’s independence. Cyprus, Greece, Romania and Slovakia also support this position.

In the diplomatic circles, there is a rumor that Spain intends to oppose Kosovo’s participation in the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia. The integration of the Western Balkans is a priority of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of EU.

For its part, European Commission spokeswoman Maya Kostonicic has urged Member States to share opinions only after the official presentation of the document so as not to aggravate the discussion. In a letter to EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, Pristina expressed its concern over Kosovo’s uncertain European perspective.

Until 17 February 2008, Kosovo is legally an autonomous region of the Republic of Serbia, although the province has not actually been under the control of the Serbian government since 1999. Kosovo declared its independence on 17 February 2008 and is recognized by Bulgaria and other 107 countries, 22 of which are EU Member States, as well as the US, Canada and Australia.