Can the EU Make Member States Recognise Kosovo?


  • Stjepan Novak Ministry of Interior Affairs


Because of their internal situations, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain do not recognise Kosovo. Aware of its inability to create a common view, as in other cases, the European Council has noted that ‘Member States will decide, in accordance with national practice and international law, on their relations with Kosovo’ on a sui generis basis. Nevertheless, the EU has engaged in de facto recognition of Kosovo by treating it as an independent State. Their obligations rooted in a duty of sincere cooperation and mutual solidarity mean that the five Member States that do not recognise Kosovo may not obstruct the EU’s ‘engagement without recognition’ policy and, in this way, participate in de facto recognition of Kosovo. After some introductory remarks, the specific nature of recognition of States from the perspective of EU law will be explored. The section after that will deal with Member States’ obligations regarding recognition when the EU has adhered to a certain recognition policy. The fourth section will investigate the sui generis case of Kosovo in specific circumstances defined by EU law. The paper concludes with some final remarks.

Keywords: recognition of States, de jure and de facto recognition, duty of sincere cooperation, duty of mutual solidarity, Kosovo.





This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution − Non-Commercial − No Derivatives 4.0 International License.


Suggested citation: S Novak, ‘Can the EU Make Member States Recognise Kosovo?’ (2023) 19 CYELP 299.




How to Cite

Novak, S. (2023). Can the EU Make Member States Recognise Kosovo?. Croatian Yearbook of European Law and Policy, 19, 299–316. Retrieved from