European Union foreign ministers are gathered in Brussels Monday for a crucial meeting in which at least four major European powers Britain, Italy, France and Germany are expected to recognize Kosovo's newly declared independence. Lisa Bryant has more from Paris.
European countries immediately offered a careful and fractured response to Kosovo's declaration of independence Sunday, with none officially recognizing it as a new country. But several European Union members delivered encouraging words, including France, whose foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, wished Kosovo good luck.
Kouchner, who formerly headed the UN peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, said he believed it was the beginning of Kosovo's existence as an independent entity, and he did not rule out Kosovo's eventual membership to the EU.
But the Kosovo question has split the EU. While the majority of the 27-member bloc supports the concept, half a dozen countries, including Cyprus and Spain, oppose recognizing Kosovo, fearing that will encourage independence movements closer to home.
On Saturday, however, the EU launched a mission to provide police and judicial expertise to Kosovo to help facilitate its transition to a nation state. Serbia, which refuses to recognize the independence of its province, has denounced the EU mission.