Spain to boycott the Zagreb summit over Kosovo


  • Tea Trubić Macan


Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic take part in a EU summit following the EU elections, in Brussels, Belgium May 28, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool
Yves Herman / REUTERS

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic

Spain could end up boycotting the Zagreb summit scheduled for 6th and 7th May if Kosovo is going to be invited as an independent state.

The information has been confirmed by multiple diplomatic sources at Bruxelles, but Madrid is not ready to publish their official statement until Zagreb submits the invitation.

Spain is one of five Member States that does not acknowledge Kosovo's statehood due to the internal pressures of Catalonia to announce their independence. This would not be the first time for Madrid to boycott such diplomatic events due to Priština's presence. During the West Balkans summit in Sofia 2018, former foreign minister and current high representative of the EU Josep Borrell has left the room when his colleague from Kosovo came.

Borrell will be responsible for the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština in the following months, which is why he is currently visiting the region at the very beginning of his Commission term.

Much like Borrell, Madrid is also in a very uncomfortable position this year regarding Kosovo. Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez formed his minority government thanks to the promise of a dialogue that he gave to Catalan Republicans in exchange for their abstention during a confidence vote in the parliament. In the meantime, the president of Catalan regional government Quim Torra has announced elections in the autonomous regions before the budget for 2020 is going to be adopted. The exact date of the elections is still unknown, but citizens might be going to the polls in spring.

Sanchez is increasingly becoming aware of the fact that he is expected to offer a certain compromise to Catalan Republicans if he wants to stay in power, so, analysts argue, he is trying to send a message to Barcelona through his position on Priština in Zagreb.

The Spanish government does not want to comment on the alleged boycott.

- It is still early to confirm our participation because we are still waiting for the formal invitation of the Croatian presidency. As soon as we receive it, we are going to announce the status of our arrival – states the written response given to a Serbian media platform B92 by the Spanish Permanent Representation in the EU.

The President of Croatian Parliament Gordan Jandroković confirmed to another Serbian media outlet that the organization of the Zagreb summit is not going as smoothly as expected.