Fuente: El Mundo

At 5:40 this Wednesday the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) issued a joint statement in which they reported that the Spanish Government changed its position and will allow athletes from Kosovo, a country that He unilaterally declared his independence in 2008 and is not recognized by Spain, to participate under his anthem and his flag in the sports competitions organized in our country. In addition, the document pointed directly to a person in charge of this agreement, which could be a first step towards the recognition of the Balkan country: “We want to reiterate our profound gratitude for the decision adopted by the Government and promoted by President Pedro Sánchez.” This agreement has implications that go far beyond sport, because Spain is, together with Greece, the only large European country that does not admit Kosovo, whose declaration of unilateral independence is the model to be followed by the Catalan independence movement. Therefore, Spain had been inflexible until now. This same summer, at the Mediterranean Games in Tarragona, the Kosovar athletes had to participate with a special visa and could not march under their flag, but they did so under the banner of their Olympic Committee. And more emphatic was the position in the World Championship of Madrid last weekend, when they were not even allowed to wear clothes that bore the name of their country and the markers were identified as athletes of the World Karate Federation. This triggered the reaction of the IOC, which does recognize Kosovo and, through its deputy director general, the Catalan Pere Miró, threatened Spain with not allowing him to organize any sporting event as long as it did not solve this situation. Faced with this problem, the COE and the Government negotiated, with the active participation of President Sánchez, a solution during the last three days to reach the aforementioned agreement. A pact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quick to deny by another statement: “There has been no change in the Spanish position, Spain has been allowing and facilitating the participation of Kosovar athletes in these competitions, granting visas when they have been requested, always in accordance with the Olympic card and allowing the use of its symbols, flags and anthem. ” An obvious contradiction with what happened in the competitions of Tarragona and Madrid. “Of course there has been a change and a very significant one”, explains to EL MUNDOAlejandro Blanco, president of the COE. “We respect any political position of the Government with respect to Kosovo, but sportingly it is a great advance, despite what the Foreign Ministry says, they have never been allowed to compete in Spain under their banner and in the new agreement it is very clear that now they can do it”, Minister Borrell also signs the letter sent to the COE and the COI that says literally: “Spain is willing to look for formulas that guarantee the participation of athletes.” Kosovars in sporting events organized in Spain under the auspices of the IOC, that is, to facilitate the obtaining of visas for Kosovar participants and to allow the use of their national symbols, flag and anthem in accordance with the Olympic protocol. ensure that these athletes can participate on equal terms with others. ” That is, as those of any officially recognized country. And this, whether the government wants it or not, is a change.

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