Committee of Ministers Chairmanship – Malta : November 2002 - May 2003 

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Peter Schieder in favour of accession of Serbia and Montenegro at Parliamentary Assembly spring session

Strasbourg, 13.03.2003 - In a letter to the Chairman-in-Office of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, Maltese Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Borg, Assembly President Peter Schieder today calls for the accession of Serbia and Montenegro as the 45th member state at the Parliamentary Assembly's spring session (Strasbourg, 31 March - 4 April 2003).

"The assassination of the Prime Minister of Serbia, Zoran Djindjic, has deeply affected us all. We now wonder what this means for the further development of Serbia and Montenegro. I feel that there is now an urgent need to offer the country assistance, support and co-operation.

I therefore ask you to examine whether, faced with this situation, it would not be possible to speed up the decision-making process in the Committee of Ministers to allow Serbia and Montenegro to become a full member of the Council of Europe during the next session of the Parliamentary Assembly. This would give a clear and important signal to both the country and its population.

I have not been instructed by the Parliamentary Assembly to take this initiative, nor is it based on a decision of the Bureau of the Assembly. I am taking it because I am aware of the needs of this region, and because I am strongly convinced that it is at this precise moment in time that a positive signal from Europe would be of the utmost importance."

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The application for membership of the Council of Europe was deposited on 9 November 2000. On 24 September 2002, the Parliamentary Assembly adopted an opinion in favour of accession as soon as the Constitutional Charter had been adopted by the Parliaments of Serbia and Montenegro and recommended this to the Committee of Ministers (opinion 239(2002)).
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