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After independence

Kosovo's declaration of independence merely formalises the status quo. Europe's newest country faces serious social and economic challenges

By Dominik Zaum   February 2008

The Kosovan government has finally made good on its intention to unilaterally declare independence from Serbia. As expected, the US and most EU countries will recognise it. The declaration follows the months of stalemate that set in last March after the UN’s special envoy, former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari, came up with a plan for Kosovo’s conditional independence—a proposal that the Kosovo Albanians had accepted, but which was rejected by the Serb government. Neither party departed from their original position, which made a consensual, negotiated solution all but impossible. (The territory’s independence is conditional and limited, with significant governmental powers…

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