Kosovo has received a boost from the EU. It comes after Pristina achieved its first breakthrough in negotiations with neighbours Serbia. The status of the two countries within Europe was discussed in a meeting in Brussels.
Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci was encouraged to move forward to accession to the 27-member bloc even though it would take time.
Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative For Foreign Affairs, said: “I believe that the future for Serbia and Kosovo lies in the European Union. And I do believe we have to move forward for both. In the right time frames and the right ways. A lot of work that needs to be done, as you know, is about legislation and technical work that has to go on. And we encourage both to move forward with that.”
Serbia lost control of Kosovo in 1999 when NATO waged a bombing campaign to halt killings of ethnic Albanians in a counter-insurgency war.
The landmark deals agreed two days ago – the first struck between the two since Kosovo declared independence three years ago – will allow Kosovars for the first time to cross into Serbia with Kosovo papers.