In brief

New Belgrade-Pristina tension over Kosovo’s Council of Europe bid

Serbia announces “much more stronger” measures “than they think”

Donika Gërvalla-Schwartz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo.
Donika Gërvalla-Schwartz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo. Author: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo
The government of Kosovo has formally asked to join the Council of Europe, Sharr Jakupi, chief of staff of the Balkan republic’s Foreign ministry, confirmed on Thursday 12. The Kosovar government believes that, following Russia’s exit from the body, it now has the necessary two-thirds of the votes needed for its bid to be approved.

The request has sparked a new crisis between Belgrade and Pristina. Last week, Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic warned Kosovo of a “strong and serious” response by Belgrade to Pristina’s move, “much stronger than they think.” Yesterday, Vucic announced the convening of a meeting of the Serbian National Security Council before Saturday and reproached Kosovo for trying to “take advantage” of the Ukraine crisis to join the Council of Europe by presenting Serbia as Russia’s “long arm” in the Balkans.

The Serbian leader also criticised Pristina for rushing to ask to join the Council, while for almost 10 years it has not had the will to set up the Community of Serbian Municipalities.

By joining the Council of Europe, Kosovo is attempting to take a further step in its process of international recognition. Since its 2008 declaration of independence, the Balkan republic has not been able to join either the UN or the European Union.