During an extraordinary session of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, 33 of the 46 member states voted to approve the procedure for Kosovo’s application to join the organization to move forward, sending the matter to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to prepare an opinion on membership. Seven countries (Serbia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania, Cyprus, Spain, and Hungary) voted against the procedure, with five other countries (Greece, Slovakia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Bosnia-Herzegovina) abstaining. Armenia did not vote.
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić said that the decision was expected, but that it will damage the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue. “This is a day the Council of Europe will be ashamed of,” Dačić, added, noting that the Serbian delegation, which voted against the decision, walked out after the vote, but added that Serbia has not quit the Council of Europe.
The extraordinary meeting was called at the insistence of the Great Powers, led by Germany, which insisted that the application of Kosovo, originally submitted on May 12, 2022, be added to the agenda. The move is designed to further extend German hegemony in the Balkans as the country pursues of the new iteration of its foreign policy from the 1930s in the region.
The Foreign Minister of the autonomous Serbian province, Donika Gërvalla Schwartz, announced on Twitter profile that Kosovo’s request for admission to the Council of Europe was approved. “Minutes ago, the Committee of Ministers of Council of Europe decided to pass on Kosovo’s application to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.”
Kosovo’s application for membership in the Council of Europe must be approved by the Parliamentary Assembly consisting of national representatives of the member states. A two-thirds majority is required to admit a country to the Council of Europe.