Kosovo applies for European Council membership


Kosovo on Thursday applied for official membership in the Council of Europe, the country’s foreign minister announced.

“Today, the examination procedure of our request, which will go through various stages of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and finally the Council of Ministers, begins,” Donika Gervalla, who is also deputy prime minister, said in a video message.

Gervalla said the rights of Kosovo’s citizens would be strengthened through the process.

“Kosovo is the most democratic, pro-European, and optimistic country in the region, so Kosovo deserves to be a member of the Council of Europe as soon as possible,” she asserted.

Earlier in the day, Kosovo’s government had approved the initiative to join the council and obliged the Foreign Ministry to finalize procedures.

However, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic accused Pristina of violating the Washington Treaty, Brussels Treaty, and UN Security Council Resolution 1244 by taking this step.

Vucic said the major Western countries were behind this application and that Serbia would do everything it could to politically respond to it.

The exclusion of Russia from the organization after the attack on Ukraine boosted Kosovo’s prospects to apply for membership to the council.

Support from two-thirds of the member states of the organization, all of which recognize Kosovo in the absence of Russia, will allow the Western Balkan country to become a member.

Kosovo, which is predominantly inhabited by Albanians, broke away from Serbia in 1999 and declared its independence in 2008. Serbia has not recognized this and continues to lay claim to the territory. Kosovo also aims to achieve full EU membership.

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