STRASBOURG – The Ministerial Committee of the Council of Europe, which represents the 46 member states, in an extraordinary meeting, with more than two-thirds of the votes on Monday, has taken the decision to consider the request for membership of the Republic of Kosovo.
“With 33 votes in favour, seven against and five abstentions, CoE Committee of Ministers accepted Kosovo’s membership application and initiated the accession process by requesting PACE to prepare an opinion on membership”, Kosovo ambassador to Brussels Agon Bajrami announced on Twitter.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Donika Gërvalla, said that with this decision an important stage towards full membership is completed. “For our new state, today’s decision is a historic step, perhaps the most important after our independence,” Gërvalla wrote on Facebook.
Almost a year ago, on May 12, 2022, Kosovo submitted its application for membership to the Council of Europe.
The application of Kosovo to the Council of Europe must first be handled by the Committee of Ministers, and after the assessment of the situation in Kosovo, the last word is given by the Parliamentary Assembly, which consists of the representatives of the member states.
“It is a special moment, it is a great work of the previous delegations and of this delegation. There is still work to be done. However, without any doubt this is the biggest step of Kosovo towards membership in this institution”, wrote Besnik Tahiri, opposition MP from AAK and part of the Kosovo parliamentary delegation in the session of Monday.
PM Albin Kurti also commented on this vote saying that Kosovo “will be an added value to the Council of Europe”. “The Council of Europe will add value to democracy, human rights and the rule of law in our country,” Kurti wrote on Facebook.
Meanwhile, the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić declared in Belgrade that his country will vote against Kosovo’s membership in the Council of Europe.
“We will vote against its membership in the CoE. Don’t lie and cheat. That’s all I have to say to those in Europe and around the world who thnik they have the right to lie and deceive us and interpret things as they see fit, now as written or agreed upon”, Vučić concluded.