Nato Parliamentary Assembly votes to advance Kosovo's status to associate member

Nato Parliamentary Assembly votes to advance Kosovo's status to associate member
Majority of member countries voted in favour of giving Kosovo associate member status despite lobbying by Serbia. / Nato PA
By bne IntelliNews May 27, 2024

The Nato Parliamentary Assembly (PA) has approved a recommendation to advance Kosovo’s status from an observer member to an associate member within the organisation, Kosovan MP Driton Hyseni announced on May 27. 

At a session held in Sofia, Bulgaria, the majority of member countries voted in favour of Kosovo's advancement, with only one vote against and 14 countries choosing to abstain, public broadcaster RTK reported. Despite a recent request from the Serbian parliament delegation urging against Kosovo's status advancement, the majority decision prevailed.

Following the assembly's decision, Hyseni expressed gratitude in Facebook post, calling it the culmination of years of cooperation between the Kosovo parliament and the Nato Parliamentary Assembly.

Hyseni, who heads Kosovo’s delegation in the Nato Parliamentary Assembly, spoke of the relentless efforts that ultimately led to the decision.

"Since June 2014, Kosovo has been represented as an observation delegation. Despite numerous objections and persistent efforts from the Serbian delegation and other political actors in Belgrade, Kosovo's status advancement remained unstoppable," said Hyseni.

The Nato Parliamentary Assembly, an institution separate from Nato but crucial in bridging ties between Nato and member countries' parliaments, comprises 281 delegates from all 32 Nato members.

Kosovo, following this decision, is afforded certain privileges such as presenting resolutions and amendments, serving as special associate rapporteurs in committees, and contributing perspectives to Nato-Parliamentary Assembly reports.

However, associate members do not possess voting rights on the assembly's reports, resolutions, or leadership decisions, nor do they contribute to its budget. Presently, there are nine associate members, including Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

The Serbian parliament's delegation to the Nato Parliamentary Assembly has condemned the assembly's decision to grant Kosovo associate membership, describing it as a "dangerous precedent" that will worsen the living conditions of Serbs in Kosovo, reported Tanjug on May 27.

In a strongly worded statement, the delegation expressed concerns that the decision would embolden Pristina to neglect previously reached agreements, particularly the establishment of the Community of Serbian Municipalities, a commitment made over 11 years ago.