Why is PACE decision on Kosovo historic defeat for Serbia?

Thursday, 18 April 2024 —

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Tuesday evening voted to recommend membership for Kosovo. Now there are no political obstacles left for this decision.

Even Serbs publicly acknowledge their defeat in this battle and predict that Kosovo will receive an official invitation to join the Council of Europe in less than a month.

This decision will lead to powerful consequences, but it was no surprise, as writes Sergiy Sydorenko, European Pravda's editor, in his article – Serbia isolated in Europe. PACE decision on Kosovo shows this.

For Belgrade, 16 April is a day of political defeat, which the Serbian authorities have successfully postponed for many years but have failed to do so in the past two years.


For Serbs, partially recognised Kosovo holds symbolic, historical and mythological significance. Supposedly, Serbian Orthodoxy originated in the monasteries on the territory of Kosovo.

It's a kind of analogy to the Russian thesis "Kyiv is the mother of Russian cities, and therefore..."

Several countries, including some EU member states, still do not recognise Kosovo's independence, mostly because they have their own separatism issues. By the way, Ukraine has also not recognised Kosovo.

Kosovo was blocked from international organisations because of this.

The process began after the full-scale invasion in 2022.

Then, when Russians were kicked out from the Council of Europe, Kosovo applied to Strasbourg, and the process was launched.

And Serbs, who always relied on Russian support, found themselves in a new reality.

For Kosovo, joining the Council of Europe is primarily a matter of recognition. And this was not only mentioned by Serbian speakers, whose statements were mostly ignored. The Kosovars themselves did not hide this!

Moreover, the adopted document directly states that Kosovo's status is changing!

Because the Council of Europe as an organisation, from the moment Kosovo is invited, must "cease its status-neutral policy," that is, recognise its sovereignty, the decision says.

Strasbourg, of course, cannot compel Kyiv, or Bucharest, or Madrid to take any legal actions in international relations, let alone recognise Kosovo's independence.

But ignoring this change will also be difficult, because within the framework of the Council of Europe, Ukraine will now have to communicate with Kosovo at the official, diplomatic level.

On Tuesday in Strasbourg, Serbian MPs promised a response to the adopted decision.

But ultimately, the main question is not about PACE but about Serbia's further participation in the organisation's work as a whole.

Clarity will come after the Committee of Ministers meeting on 16-17 May in Strasbourg, which is supposed to adopt the final decision.

The fate will be decided not only for Serbia but also for Ukraine.

Ukraine does not recognise Kosovo's independence for a reason.

On the other hand, when choosing a partner, it makes more sense to support the Kosovars, who help Ukraine during Russian aggression and even send military aid to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, rather than the pro-Russian government of Serbia.

On top of that, it would not be good to get another enemy in the form of Belgrade, especially considering rumours that Serbian ammunition ends up with the Armed Forces of Ukraine through re-export mechanisms (with the tacit consent of the Serbian government)...

For now, Kyiv is trying to "thread the needle" without offending either side.

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