by RAY FLEMING
IT comes to something when tiny Cyprus (population 788.457 -- fewer than the Balearics) sets an example of principle to the other 26 members of the European Union. On Friday the Cypriot Foreign Minister, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, made this statement: “Cyprus, for reasons of principle, cannot recognise and will not recognise a unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo.” He was joined later in the day by the Romanian president in a similar statement. No one doubts that the Serbian province Kosovo, with a 90 per cent ethnic Albanian population, is determined on a unilateral declaration of independence as soon as possible after today's Serbian presidential election is over and that it expects the United States and the European Union to confirm the legality of its independence by formally recognising its existence as a state. The legality of such a move is open to question but the more serious consideration is the national and international tensions it is likely to generate. Several EU states, including Spain, Greece and Slovakia, fear that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence could encourage separatist movements in their own countries; and internationally Russia is likely to criticise the move as illegal without approval of the United Nations. Russia also has its own problems with separatist tendencies in parts of the former Soviet Union. How far will Spain, and the other EU countries with doubts about recognising an independent Kosovo, go in opposing the move or declining to put their names to it? Whatever happens the outcome is likely to be more divisive than unifying.