Last Friday, the tiny European nations of Kosovo and Serbia, both formerly part of Yugoslavia, announced that they would move their embassies to Jerusalem. And Kosovo became the first majority Muslim country to do so after officially establishing diplomatic ties. But The European Union does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and says that it will not consider the two countries for full membership if they move their embassies.
AP reported that the EU gave Serbia and Kosovo an official warning on the matter on Monday. European Union leaders are also annoyed that they were not informed ahead of time about the move or warned that the announcement would be made.
Representatives of Kosovo and Serbia announced their new diplomatic deals with Israel at the White House in Washington last Friday in a public display, after taking part in delicate negotiations there. The two nations have long been at odds as Kosovo is a break away state which was part of Serbia and is not fully recognized as an independent nation. The EU has also been mediating the dispute between the two countries.
The 27 member block has an official policy on the Status of Jerusalem which holds that no nation should move its embassy there or recognize any one country’s sovereignty over the city until a final peace agreement is reached between Israel and the Palestinians.
“There is no EU member state with an embassy in Jerusalem,” European Commission spokesman Peter Stano told AP. “Any diplomatic steps that could call into question the EU’s common position on Jerusalem are a matter of serious concern and regret.”
On his nation’s relationship with Turkey, which also criticized the moves, Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci said, “Such a recognition will not violate under any circumstances the strategic, friendly and fraternal partnership with Turkey.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, however, is still optimistic about encouraging more European nations to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He said on Friday, “We will continue efforts so that additional European countries will transfer their embassies to Jerusalem.”