Kosovo applies for membership of the Council of Europe

DKosovar Foreign Minister Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz officially submitted his country’s application for admission to the Council of Europe on Thursday. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić announced on the same day that his country was opposed to Kosovo’s membership and would do everything in its power to prevent this from happening.

Michael Martens

Correspondent for South-East European countries based in Vienna.

Unlike the United Nations or the EU, the Council of Europe has neither the right of veto nor the principle of unanimity when admitting new members. After the exclusion of Russia, the political situation in the Council of Europe changed in favor of Kosovo. Mathematically, there would have been a two-thirds majority for admission even before that, as more than two-thirds of Council of Europe member states recognized Kosovo’s independence, which was declared in 2008. With the departure from Russia, the Prishtina government now anticipates better prospects for its own candidacy.

Belgrade talks about breaking the Washington agreement

Serbia, which continues to claim its former province as part of its own national territory, is outraged by the Kosovar government’s decision. President Vučić said Kosovo violated the so-called Washington Accord. Essentially, these are two declarations that are not worded identically and that the two states signed in Washington in September 2020 under pressure from former US President Donald Trump and his Balkan negotiator Richard Grenell.

The statements included a hodgepodge of statements of intent. This included a promise from Kosovo not to seek membership in new organizations for a year. Vučić announced that Belgrade’s response would be “intelligent and wise” and that it would oppose Kosovo’s admission in a “peaceful and diplomatic manner”. “Our options are limited and not great, but life is a struggle,” he said. These and other statements have clearly shown that the success of the Kosovar demand is at least not excluded in Belgrade.

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