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Kosovo's Membership in Council of Europe Delayed Indefinitely

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Photo:  Kosovo's Membership in Council of Europe Delayed Indefinitely. Source: Collage The Gaze / by Leonid Lukashenko
Photo: Kosovo's Membership in Council of Europe Delayed Indefinitely. Source: Collage The Gaze / by Leonid Lukashenko

The Council of Europe will not consider Kosovo's accession. In particular, Germany described Kosovo's recent steps to secure membership in the Council of Europe this week as insufficient. As a result, Kosovo's accession to the Council of Europe, which was supposed to be a historic event for this partially recognised country, has been postponed indefinitely.

The Kosovo government made a last-ditch effort on Thursday to persuade Western countries to include its application to the Council of Europe on the agenda of the organisation's ministerial meeting on 16 and 17 May in Strasbourg.

In a letter sent by Kosovo's Foreign Minister Donica Gervalla-Schwarz to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, PACE, Theodoros Rousopoulos, she promised that the long-delayed draft statute of the Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities (AMM) would be sent to the Constitutional Court for review "by the end of May".

But the German embassy in Kosovo, a country that has been pushing for this along with France, said this latest step is not enough.

The embassy told BIRN on Thursday that the so-called Quinta countries and others have repeatedly pointed out that Kosovo "is expected to take tangible steps towards the establishment of ASMM in order to obtain the necessary two-thirds majority in the Committee of Ministers to apply for membership in order to be successful."

"In our view, such a step would be to submit the draft statute to the Constitutional Court before the Committee meeting. As Ambassador Rohde said in a tweet after the vote in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe: "Kosovo now has to do the hard work. This has not happened yet," the embassy told BIRN by email.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called Kosovo's new move a "trick".

"The 2013 Brussels agreement is quite clear that this [proposal for a draft charter] should be made by the Serbian leadership or, if we agree, as we agreed contextually, conceptually and in principle, it should be a text submitted by Serbia to the EU," Vucic said on Wednesday.

Many in Kosovo considered membership in the Council of Europe to be a job done when PACE voted last month on a report recommending membership.

By adopting the opinion, PACE effectively passed the final decision to the Committee of Ministers, the last hurdle before membership.

However, Serbia, which does not recognise Kosovo as independent, warned that it could withdraw from the Council of Europe if Kosovo becomes a member.

Kosovo applied for membership in May 2022 after excluding Russia following its military invasion of Ukraine. 

To join the Council of Europe, Kosovo would need two-thirds of the votes in the committee of ministers, a total of 31 votes.

The Council of Europe has 46 member states, including all 27 EU members. Kosovo has been under EU measures for failing to restore calm in the Serb-populated north since June 2023. 

 

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