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REL: Admission to KiE "may have the same fate as visa liberalization"

REL: Admission to KiE "may have the same fate as visa liberalization"

If Kosovo does not take immediate steps towards the formation of the Association of municipalities with a Serbian majority, its wait for membership in the Council of Europe (CoE) will turn into a "long illness" and with "high costs", says Demush Shasha from the Kosovo Institute for European Policy. It is not clear whether he will take any steps in this direction. Neither the Government of Kosovo nor the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora responded to Radio Free Europe's interest in this matter.

The issue of the Association left Kosovo off the agenda of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on May 17, when it would be decided on the country's membership in this organization. The condition of some of its member countries, including France and Germany, was that Kosovo should at least take a draft statute of Western diplomats for the Association to the Constitutional Court for evaluation. Just 24 hours before the ministers of the Council of Europe met, the Foreign Minister of Kosovo, Donika Gërvalla, said that the country is preparing its own draft statute, based on the model of a German organization, to be submitted to the Constitutional Court by the end of May.

Her announcement did not change the developments in KiE, because it was considered late. Consequently, Gërvalla said that Kosovo's offer "lost its actuality and relevance". REL asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if this means giving up drafting the draft statute, but did not receive an answer.

"There may be a delay, but not salvation"
Shasha says that if the Government of Kosovo does not send the draft statute to the Constitutional Court, as promised, there will be consequences for Kosovo itself. According to him, by not taking concrete steps, the country risks heading towards a situation similar to that of 2016, when it did not ratify the agreement on the demarcation of the border with Montenegro.

The ratification of this agreement by the Assembly of Kosovo was a condition for the removal of the visa regime from the EU for the citizens of Kosovo. As a result, says Shasha, Kosovo lost almost 8 years, until it provided visa-free travel from January 1 of this year. He says that a similar situation can happen with the membership of KiE - the continent's leading organization for human rights. Moreover, he adds, the situation can also affect Kosovo's international credibility and inhibit it in other integration processes. The formation of the Association, says Shasha, "is inevitable". "From this work, there is no other epilogue. As the popular saying goes: 'there may be delay, but there is no salvation'. It can be tried to do all the political maneuvers, but there is no escape from the responsibility for the establishment of the Association", he says./rel

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