The ultimate frustration of not being able to vote, sitting miles away from home, was somewhat compensated by the moving images of the Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

I have lived and worked in Kosovo for a couple years – and it was a delightful experience despite the after effects of war and tragedies. Independence from Serbia is something that runs through the Kosovar collective consciousness and defines the large, attainable dream.

I am dying to call all my dear friends and colleagues – Ylber, Yakup, Mesere, and many others who used to chant the slogans in the offices, cafes and streets. Yes there are issues with the new arrangement – the overbearing European Union control and the fragile nature of the economy and polity. Not to mention an angry, unsparing neighbour with colonization of Albanian identity as its nationalist agenda.

I just hope that this rather extreme narrative is not all that true.

Fear of such a development, of mounting conflict with Russia, and of the spread of separatist sentiment has led to divisions within Europe, with Greece, Spain, Cyprus, Slovakia, Portugal, Malta, Bulgaria and Romania arguing against a declaration of independence. Some of the 27 EU nations are expected to state their formal opposition to the setting up of a Kosovo state today.

Events prompted the Guardian’s Simon Tisdall to warn of “a moment of great peril for Europe … As the UN bows out, Kosovo will effectively become an EU protectorate, under its costly, possibly indefinite supervision. Whether the EU countries, divided among themselves, endemically infirm of purpose, and facing many other demands on military and nation-building resources (such as Bosnia, Chad, Lebanon and Afghanistan) are equal to this task is open to question.”

All power to the new state of Kosovo and its proud, passionate citizens.

Images from here and here