From: Alice Taylor
Ukrainian Politician Calls for Kosovo Recognition, Membership in CoE

Oleksiy Goncharenko, a member of the Ukrainian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said that Kosovo deserves full recognition and should also become a full member of the human rights organisation.

Kosovo is not recognised by some 12 Council of Europe states, including five EU member states, although it applied for membership in May 2022.

“”Kosovo should be recognised by all the countries of the Council of Europe…I appeal to you please recognise this country as an independent state for which they fought for their future and independence. They should sit here with us, be part of the Council of Europe, and only then can we be stronger, and this country will also flourish,” he told the plenary in an impassioned speech.

Ukraine is amongst those that do not recognise Kosovo’s independence, mainly due to its own territorial disputes, as is the case with most other countries with the same view, for example, Spain, Cyprus and Greece. Romania also does not recognise Kosovo, and some politicians have called for EURO 2024 matches drawn between the two countries for 2023 to be cancelled.

Goncharenko said that he is appealing to the Ukrainian parliament to recognise Kosovo as an independent country and that other countries must do the same.

“ I call on the parliament of Ukraine to support and recognise the independence of Kosovo, and we must all do this and move forward together,” he added.

The politician closed his speech by speaking Albanian, much to the delight of Albanians on social media.

“Kosovo eshte Europe,” he said, meaning ‘Kosovo is Europe’.

Albanian Chairman of the Socialist Parliamentary Group, Taulant Balla, said that Kosovo’s membership in the CoE is a step that will serve the consolidation of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

“Kosovo submitted a request for membership in the Council of Europe this year after so many years of holding the status of a participant. The Parliamentary Assembly decided that from this session onwards, the delegation from the Assembly of Kosovo will have dedicated seats in the plenary session hall and the right to speak in every committee or plenary meeting”, he said.

Balla said the delegation of Albania in PACE supports and is by Kosovo’s side on its way to membership in the CoE.

Meanwhile, Kosovo hopes to have a decision on visa liberalisation in the coming days and has said it will apply for EU membership by the end of 2022, much to the chagrin of Serbia.