Kosovo has started key talks with the European Union.
The two parties are discussing a Stabilisation and Association agreement, the first step to future EU membership for any potential candidate country.
Hashim Thaci, Kosovo’s Prime Minister, said it was an “historic day” and that an “irreversible chapter” was being opened.
It is another landmark move in Kosovo’s pursuit of full international acceptance, more than five years after it declared independence from Serbia, with the backing of the West.
Serbia does not accept the secession but it has bowed to pressure from the EU to cooperate with Kosovo, in pursuit of its own membership agenda.
In June, Kosovo said 100 countries had recognised its independence. They include the United States but only 23 of the EU’s 28 member states.