MEPs from Scotland, Wales and the Basque Country have welcomed Kosova's independence declaration. MEPs meeting in Strasbourg will discuss the issue of Kosova this week.

Representatives of the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru - the Party of Wales, Basque party Eusko Alkartasuna and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya have given their backing to the independence of Europe's newest nation. MEPs Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith from the SNP, Mikel Irujo from Eusko Alkartasuna (and on behalf of ERC) and Jill Evans from Plaid Cymru signed a declaration in Strasbourg urging EU member states to recognise the new state and welcome Kosova to the European family of nations. Declaration on Kosova by the 'Edinburgh Group' (SNP, Plaid and Eusko Alkartasuna MEPs), Strasbourg, 19 February 2007 Members of the European Parliament from Eusko Alkartasuna, Plaid Cymru - The Party of Wales, the Scottish National Party, and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (part of the Edinburgh Group), welcome Kosova's declaration of independence and note:

1. The right to self-determination is a basic human right and inalienable democratic principle.
2. The right to self-determination is a democratic principle at one with the essence of the European Union, as the examples of existing EU members such as Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Slovenia demonstrate. The EU has also recognised other countries that have recently obtained their independence such as Montenegro (in 2006), Croatia, Bosnia or Macedonia, all of whom are EU candidate countries.
3. The member states have no common position on the recognition of an independent Kosova. The Spanish State insists that it will not recognise Kosova nor will it establish diplomatic relations, questioning the legality of the independence declaration. France took a similar position with Slovenia in 1991, a country which now holds the EU Presidency.
4. The Edinburgh Group welcomes this historic event which underlines the rights of all European nations to decide freely their own futures, and which demonstrates that this right is an essential democratic principle of the European Union.
5. We believe that the minority of EU states that refuse to recognise the rights of nations within their borders to democratically determine their futures based on the principle of self-determination, will inevitably and ultimately be compelled to do so within the framework of the European Union.

Note:

The Edinburgh Group was set up on the margins of a summit held in Edinburgh in January 2008 by representatives of democratic political parties campaigning for independence with the European Union for their nations. It includes representatives from parties in government in Scotland, Wales, the Basque Country, Flanders and Catalonia.

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