Holy See's reaction to the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence

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Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia was enacted on Sunday, 17 February 2008 by a unanimous vote of the Assembly of Kosovo.[1] All 11 representatives of the Serb minority boycotted the proceedings.[2] International reaction was mixed, and the world community continues to be divided on the issue of the international recognition of Kosovo. The reaction of the Holy See to the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence has indicated implicit recognition of the de facto existence of Kosovo, but explicit recognition has been withheld.


In February 2008 Pope Benedict XVI said the Vatican called for "prudence and moderation" in Kosovo and Serbia. The Holy See urged politicians in the region to show "a decisive and concrete commitment to ward off extremist reactions and violence", Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi announced. "The Holy Father (i.e., the Pope) continues to look with affection at the people of Kosovo and Serbia, is close to them and is praying at this crucial moment of their history," the statement said.[3][4] In April 2008, Monsignor Miguel Maury, referring to this statement of Father Lombardi, told US diplomats that, in order not to undermine its relations with the government of Serbia and its ecumenical dialogue with the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Holy See was not ready to formally recognise Kosovo, but would "continue to promote dialogue in a way that implicitly acknowledges and respects Kosovo's de facto independence".[5] In June 2008, Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, stated that the Vatican has not recognised the independence of Kosovo and does not intend to do so in the near future.[6][7]

At a meeting in September 2009 between the Kosovan Foreign Minister, Skënder Hyseni, and Dominique Mamberti, the Holy See's Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Mamberti said that the Holy See was closely following developments in and around Kosovo, and he expressed his willingness to continue and intensify mutual communications.[8] Following a meeting in November 2009 between the Serbian President Boris Tadić and Pope Benedict XVI, Tadić said that the Vatican supported Serbia's integration and membership within the EU and the sovereignty and preservation of its territorial integrity.[9]

On 10 February 2011, the Vatican appointed a new nuncio to Slovenia, who is also to exercise the function of apostolic delegate to Kosovo. In a press release, the Vatican stressed that this appointment (of non-diplomatic character) was "completely distinct from considerations regarding juridical and territorial situations or any other question inherent to the diplomatic activity of the Holy See".[10] In a 5 September 2011 meeting between Kosovo's Foreign Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, and the Apostolic Delegate of the Vatican to Kosovo, Juliusz Janusz, Janusz indicated that there would soon be good news for Kosovo regarding its recognition by the Holy See.[11] However, the head of the Vatican Press Service, Father Federico Lombardi, later stated that there was no change in the attitude of the Holy See toward Kosovo.[12]

In an October 2012 meeting, Enver Hoxhaj and Juliusz Janusz discussed the format of deepening cooperation between Kosovo and the Vatican. Janusz pledged the Holy See's strong support for Kosovo.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kosovo MPs proclaim independence, BBC, 2008-02-17
  2. ^ Transkript: Nga Seanca Plenare e Jashtëzakonshme Solemne e Kuvendit Të Kosovës Me Rastin e Shpalljes Së Pavarësisë, Të Mbajtur Më 17 Shkurt 2008, Republic of Kosovo Assembly, 2008-02-17 (in Albanian)
  3. ^ Vatican calls for moderation in Kosovo and Serbia, Christian Today, 2008-02-18
  4. ^ Vatican advises moderation in response to Kosovo independence, Catholic News Agency, 2008-02-19
  5. ^ US embassy cable – 08VATICAN38 Holy See has recognized Kosovo "de facto", says Vatican Official, US Embassy to the Vatican, via Wikileaks, 2008-04-30]
  6. ^ Надо чаще встречаться, Itogi, 2008-06-17 (in Russian)
  7. ^ Vatican Does Not Intend To Recognize Kosovo Soon, Casper, Tanjug, 2008-06-16
  8. ^ Minister Hyseni asks the Vatican to consider recognition of Kosovo, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, 2009-09-25
  9. ^ Vatican shows support for Serbian EU integration Archived 2009-11-21 at the Wayback Machine., B92, 2009-11-14
  10. ^ Note on Appointment of Apostolic Delegate to Kosovo, Vatican Information Service, 2011-02-10
  11. ^ Vatican supports Republic of Kosovo in every aspect, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, 2011-09-05
  12. ^ Vatican position on Kosovo "unchanged", B92, 2011-09-05
  13. ^ Hoxhaj: Njohja nga Vatikani, inspirim për shtetet tjera, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, 2012-10-06 (in Albanian)