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Kosovo surprisingly quietly celebrated the first anniversary of its independence
Kosovo surprisingly quietly celebrated the first anniversary of its independence - a year ago, on February 17, a former Yugoslav and later a Serb territory announced its autonomy. It was supported by the United States and the EU, but not wholly.

A telegram from the new U.S. president, Barack Obama, stood out among other messages. Obama promised to continue supporting its independence. The telegram's tone was reserved, but Hashim Thaci, the prime minister of the half-recognized state, declared in reply that "the whole world will soon acknowledge us."

Today, 54 countries have recognized Kosovo, including 22 European Union members. It is not that many, considering that 200 countries are UN members. But, on the other hand, it is not that few, bearing in mind that only Nicaragua, apart from Russia, has recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, set up following the Kosovo example.

Now even the European Union admits that democracy inoculations administered to Kosovo, despite all external markings (elections, a parliament, a EU trained police force, an army, courts, etc.), have not come any closer to the declared result. European standards do not work here. They just can't.

Even Brussels now agrees that it is too early to speak of Kosovo's complete independence. A strange new term, supervised independence, whose mention cannot be found in any state law (perhaps except colonial law), has been invented for Kosovo. Peter Feith, an EU official representative from the Netherlands, used it on Independence Day.

"We are still at the stage of supervised independence," he told the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs, which has been trying to sort out the current status of Kosovo. "The basic modalities for independence have not been fulfilled yet. These are the establishment of a single legislative and judicial system throughout the entire territory of Kosovo, long-term stability, and good relations with its neighbors," he said.

Since last December, an EU legal mission known as EULEX has been in direct control over the police, judiciary and customs in Kosovo.

The police and the army are manned by Kosovars, and few or no minority Serbs belong to their ranks. Kosovo's security force numbering 3,000 men, backed by the EU and NATO, is seen by Serbs in Kosovo as an open insult, as special battalions for keeping down the Serb minority.

"This force is a direct threat to national security, peace and stability in the region," said Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic. Indeed, what else can it be if it is staffed almost entirely by members of the "disbanded" Kosovo Liberation Army, a semi-guerilla nationalist formation, which waged war on Serbia and is responsible for mass killings of Serbs during the war in the province?

The official viewpoint is this: all is not going according to plan in Kosovo, but it is moving in the right direction. No one knows when the ultimate objective will be reached. Meanwhile, the EU continues to allocate a quarter of a million euros monthly for the needs of the judiciary, the police and other bodies to establish law and order.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.


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