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NEW YORK — Confronting the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991, former EU Council President Jacques Poos made his famous but now derided statement: “This is the hour of Europe not the hour of the Americans.”

What the European Union learned from the subsequent four years of Balkan disasters under its management is now being tested by another major turning point and potential crisis — when and how Kosovo is to become independent. Once again, Europe’s role may well prove decisive.

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