The EU has urged Serbia and Kosovo to improve their relations to boost their chances of joining the union.
Both want to become members. Belgrade has already applied to join and there are hopes that the ruling could lead to progress.
“We are ready to facilitate a process of dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade,” said the EU’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. “This dialogue would be to promote cooperation, achieve progress on the path to Europe and improve the lives of the people.”
Among the prominent countries to have recognised Kosovo’s independence worldwide, the US has urged European nations to follow suit. So far, 22 of the EU’s 27 member states have officially done so. Only Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia are opposed to it. EU diplomats say Kosovo is not yet ready to apply for membership.
Altogether, nearly 70 of the UN’s 192 members have recognised Kosovo’s formal separation from Serbia. The question of Kosovo’s own membership is more complicated. First, nine of the Security Council’s 15 members must be in favour, provided that none of the five permanent members votes against.
That could pose a big problem for Kosovo, given Moscow’s staunch opposition. Russia, which has historic ties with Serbia, says its position of not recognising Kosovo’s independence remains unchanged.
Ruling could bring Kosovo closer to EU and UN