Comment 05 Dec 17

Kosovo is Wasting its Energy on Recognition Battles

Getting diplomatic recognition by small, far-off states is far less important than having a functioning economy.

Marcus Tanner
Illustration. Photo: Wikimedia/Commons Kskhh

Reports that Suriname, a small state in Latin America, has apparently withdrawn diplomatic recognition of Kosovo have created great excitement in the Balkans. In Serbia, it is being hailed as a great victory, in Kosovo as an ominous loss.

The fear – or hope – depending on where you stand, is that a mass of other small states or and micro-states could follow suit, pushing back Kosovo’s hopes of ever joining the United Nations.

That prospect may cause sleepless nights in Pristina – but should it? How much does it actually matter?

It is worth remembering that, until recent decades, no country believed its existence, or even its well being, depended on whether large numbers of small, far-off countries – with whom its economic relations were minimal – “recognised” it or not.

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