by RAY FLEMING
LAST week in this space I said I hoped that Spain would take the lead among European Union members in refusing to be counted among those ready to recognise Kosovo's statehood if that was declared, as anticipated, last Sunday. Yesterday in Brussels Spain did just that -- “The government of Spain will not recognise the unilateral act proclaimed yesterday by the assembly of Kosovo. We will not recognise because we consider this does not respect international law”, said foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos. Greece, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus are other EU members likely to follow Spain's lead. Naturally, President George W Bush, no respecter of any international law, was the first to announce recognition of Kosovo and Britain, France, Germany and Italy almost fell over each other in the rush to be the next after the United States. But Spain is right -- Kosovo's independence is illegal and its approval by the US and the EU's big four will only bring trouble in its wake. One has to feel sorry for the people of Kosovo. They have been encouraged, especially by the United States, to declare their independence but they should not expect to get consistent support from these supporters in the future when they find they cannot gain admission to the many international organisations on which a new state depends for economic growth and internal stability. Meanwhile Spain and the other dissident EU members will have to be on guard against separatist movements trying to follow the Kosovo example.