A+ A-

PACE recommends Kosovo to become member of Council of Europe

BRUSSELS, April 17 (KUNA) -- The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) recommended Kosovo's Council of Europe (CoE) membership, deciding to monitor its fulfilment of commitments and obligations as during its accession, stated CoE.
Dora Bakoyannis, CoE member from Greece, reported the statutory opinion of Kosovo's passing by 131 votes in favor, 29 against, and 11 abstentions. PACE stated that Kosovo's membership would lead to ""the strengthening of human rights standards by ensuring access to the European Court of Human Rights for all those who are under Kosovo's jurisdiction." It would be "the culmination of a dialogue which has developed over a span of two decades but should in no way be seen as the end of a process," PACE's reported. "On the contrary, membership should catalyze momentum for Kosovo to continue to make progress in strengthening human rights, democracy and the rule of law," added PACE.
The parliamentarians stated that membership would also help Kosovo to "address outstanding challenges and matters of concern." It would also address "the gap between normative standards and their effective implementation, the need to better protect the rights of non-majority communities, and fostering a climate conducive to trust, reconciliation and inclusion." A "major breakthrough" was welcomed by PACE in the implementation of the Constitutional Court's judgment in the case of the Serbian Visoki Decani monastery.
It was "a tangible sign of the commitment of the government to act in full accordance with the rule of law, irrespective of political considerations," added PACE.
The establishment of an Association of Serb majority municipalities would be "an important step" to ensure the protection of the rights of Kosovo Serbs, it added.
Additionally, it "should feature in the Committee of Ministers' future consideration of Kosovo's application to accede to the Council of Europe, as a post-accession commitment." Acknowledging the "unprecedented circumstances" of the application, given that a number of CoE member states do not recognize Kosovo as a state, PACE called for "diplomacy, dialogue and compromise". It invited the Committee of Ministers to ensure that Kosovo's membership was "without prejudice to individual member states' positions as regards the statehood of Kosovo. (end) hts.za