Brussel steunt verzoek Kosovo tot toetreding Europese wederopbouwbank (en)

Met dank overgenomen van EUobserver (EUOBSERVER) i, gepubliceerd op woensdag 18 augustus 2010, 9:27.

EUOBSERVER i / BRUSSELS - The European Commission has endorsed Kosovo's bid to join the international bank, the EBRD i, as Pristina continues to build its credibility on the world stage.

"Membership of the EBRD would be a very important step forward following Kosovo's accession last year to the IMF i and the World Bank and therefore the European Commission is supportive of this objective," economic affairs commissioner Olli Rehn i after meeting Kosovo's finance minister, Ahmat Shala, in Brussels on Tuesday (17 August).

Mr Shala, for his part, noted that Kosovo has entered a "new era" following an opinion by the International Court of Justice i last month that its declaration of independence did not violate international law.

"We are very optimistic that Kosovo will reach the necessary votes to be part of this very important institution and hopefully the time for that, the circumstances for that [are positive] after the ICJ gave its approval and many countries sent positive signals on that," he said.

Mr Rehn, in his previous five year post as EU i enlargement commissioner, was one of the architects of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in 2008.

Five out of the 27 EU countries and 22 out of the 63 EBRD member countries do not recognise Kosovo. But if one of the 22 EBRD non-recognisers changes position, it would be enough for Pristina to secure the 75 percent vote needed to join the London-based body.

UN membership is for the time being out of the question due to the hostility of Russia, a UN veto-wielding power in a situation preventing Kosovo from joining other institutions, such as the International Olympic Committee, the football authority FIFA and the Internet top-line domain name authority, ICAAN.

Kosovo in 2009 did join the IMF, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank however, in developments touted by its diplomats as proof of progress on de jure statehood.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in a comment for EUobserver earlier this week said the ICJ ruling should open the way for more UN members to switch sides.

"The opinion affirmed Kosovo's place in the international community, something which 69 countries have already recognised. I call on those states that have not yet done so to recognize Kosovo now," he said.

Meanwhile, a number of large EU countries are putting pressure on Serbia, Kosovo's former masters, to also fall in line if it wants to proceed on the path to EU membership.

"A small number of influential EU member states have decided to use our candidacy application as a means to impose pressure on Serbia ahead and during the debate on Kosovo at the United Nations General Assembly [in New York in September]," Serbia's deputy prime minister, Bozidar Delic, said in Serbia's Politika magazine this week.

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