Kosovo's membership in Council of Europe faces hurdles

15 Maj 2024, 11:16Kosovo & Region TEMA

Kosovo's membership in Council of Europe faces hurdles

May 15, 2024 — Kosovo's bid for membership in the Council of Europe, the continent's leading human rights organization, encounters obstacles as it is not on the agenda of the upcoming Committee of Ministers meeting. This was highlighted by Kosovo's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Kreshnik Ahmeti, in a recent Facebook post.

Despite Kosovo's strong support for Council of Europe membership, certain countries are pressuring Kosovo to accept the draft statute proposed by Miroslav Lajčák, the EU envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue. This draft statute pertains to the establishment of an Association of Serb-majority municipalities and its referral to Kosovo's Constitutional Court.

Ahmeti voiced concerns that this pressure could lead to a postponement of the membership vote. He emphasized that such interference contradicts the ongoing Brussels dialogue process.

Ahmeti clarified that the demand for the Association does not align with the values of the Council of Europe. Any delay, he warned, would hinder citizens, including the Serbian minority, from accessing the Council's mechanisms to address their rights.

Although the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly endorsed Kosovo's membership, reports suggest some Western countries are conditioning acceptance on progress towards establishing the Association.

Prime Minister Albin Kurti affirmed his government's stance against the Association's establishment as a precondition for Council of Europe membership. He reiterated that negotiations with Serbia should occur in Brussels, not Strasbourg.

The Association issue dates back to agreements between Kosovo and Serbia in 2013 and 2015. However, Kosovo's Constitutional Court found these agreements at odds with its Constitution. Despite Serbia's insistence on implementation, Kosovo opposes an ethnically-based Association.

This article is based on reporting by the Radio Free Europe, Albanian service. It has been translated and adapted from the original Albanian into English

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