Kosovo footnote | EU, UN, Council of Europe standard

Kosovo footnote | EU, UN, Council of Europe standard

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EU Kosovo footnote

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

Source 1: European Union Office in Kosovo website

Source 2: European Commission 2013 Progress Report on Kosovo

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UN Kosovo footnote

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999.

Source: IOM Kosovo Office website

Council of Europe Kosovo footnote

*All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.

Source: Council of Europe web page on Kosovo


Why is the ‘Kosovo footnote’ used at all?

Use of the ‘Kosovo footnote’ is a procedural measure employed within EU, UN and Council of Europe institutions, meant to bypass the diplomatic disagreements among member states concerning Kosovo’s statehood recognition.

The controversy around Kosovo’s independence from Serbia in 2008 resulted in some EU and UN member states not officially recognising Kosovo as a sovereign nation. To ensure normal functioning of EU and UN institutions, and the possibility of cooperation with Kosovo on non-sensitive issues, the Kosovo footnote was introduced as a temporary measure and the Kosovo statehood issue is resolved at UN level.

Use of the ‘Kosovo footnote’ allows for the inclusion of Kosovo in various EU and UN initiatives and cooperation with EU and UN institutions without fully endorsing its sovereignty or offending countries which do not recognise Kosovo’s independence.

Historical reason for the footnote use

In the late 20th century, tensions between the ethnic Albanian majority and Serbian minority in the territory of modern-day Kosovo escalated, leading to the 1998-1999 Kosovo War. Following a period of United Nations administration, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. However, Serbia and a number of other countries did not recognize Kosovo’s independence, resulting in ongoing debates on its international status.

Criticism of the ‘Kosovo footnote’ use

There is an argument that the use of the ‘Kosovo footnote’ hinders the normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo and delays the overall resolution of their dispute. Additionally, there are concerns that the continuous use of the footnote could perpetuate ambiguity surrounding Kosovo’s status within international organisations. Despite ongoing debates, the Kosovo footnote remains an essential diplomatic tool used not only by EU and UN institutions, but also many countries’ government institutions.

EU countries that do not recognize Kosovo

Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Romania, and Greece are the only EU countries that do not recognize Kosovo as an independent country.

Other countries that do not recognize Kosovo

The number of other countries that do not recognize Kosovo changes overtime as a result of lobbying by both Kosovo and Serbia, as well as their international allies.

It appears that around 100 countries recognize the statehood of Kosovo globally. Some major countries that do not recognize Kosovo: Russia, Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria and South Africa.

Wikipedia seems to have the best register of countries that have/haven’t recognized Kosovo.

How to properly insert the Kosovo footnote in MS Word?

Quite many people struggle to properly insert the ‘Kosovo footnote’, often using the asterisk “*” in combination with a numerical footnote, leading to some awkward combinations.

The below instruction shows you how to properly insert the ‘Kosovo footnote’ in MS Word. The visual instruction below applies to Word versions from 2019 onwards, but the process is similar for older Word versions, just the toolbar layout might be slightly different.

Step 1

Type “Footnote” in the top search window and select “Footnote and Endnote”. Do not select “AB Footnote” as that will insert the footnote without opening the customization dialogue.

Step 2

After you select the “AB Footnote and Endnote” action, the following dialogue window will open. There you have to select the right footnote mark format. Choose the option with an asterisk from the drop-down menu.

Step 3

Press “Insert”. This will allow you to insert a footnote in the text with an asterisk “*” and not a numerical value like in the example below.

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