Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 34 n° 349

47 again? Russia out, Kosovo in

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 21 Maggio 2022

Russia, a nuclear superpower with a population of 146 million and a landmass stretching across nine time zones, joined the Council of Europe in 1996. As a Council of Europe member, Russia waged wars in Chechnya (1999-2000), invaded Georgia (2008), annexed Crimea (2014), triggered war in Eastern Ukraine (from 2014), bombed civilians in Syria (from 2015) and then launched an assault against the whole of Ukraine in February 2022. Kosovo, one of Europe’s smallest democracies with a population of less than 2 million, with a territory that is 0.05 percent that of Russia, declared its independence in February 2008. This was recognised by a large majority of members of the Council of Europe (34 of 46). In October 2008, the General Assembly of the United Nations turned to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague with a simple question: “Is the unilateral declaration of independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo in accordance with international law?” In July 2010, the ICJ concluded that “the declaration of independence of Kosovo adopted on 17 February 2008 did not violate international law”. Unlike Russia, Kosovo has seen peaceful transfers of political power following free and fair elections. Unlike Russia, independent Kosovo never had political prisoners. Unlike Russia, it has not waged any wars. And yet, for many years, Kosovo governments have been actively discouraged from applying for Council of Europe membership by other members. The result: Kosovo remains outside. It is today the only European democracy which is not yet a member of the Council of Europe. Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, combined with threats by its leaders against other Council of Europe member states, was finally too much.On 15 March this year, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted an Opinion. It considered that the Russian Federation can no longer be a member State of the Organisation. The decision was unanimous. That same day, the Russian government announced its withdrawal. After more than a quarter of a century of being a member, Russia was out. Shortly thereafter, Kosovo’s government announced its intention of applying to take Russia’s place as 47th member. On 12 May, last week, Kosovo’s foreign minister submitted Kosovo’s application in Strasbourg.Italy currently chairs the Committee of Ministers. Luigi di Maio, the Italian foreign minister, has often spoken out in favour of Kosovo’s integration into European institutions.

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