The EU has moved closer to starting membership talks with Serbia.
Foreign Ministers meeting in Luxembourg have agreed to pass on Belgrade’s bid to the European Commission which will give its view on the matter.
The move follows Serbia’s agreement to negotiate with breakaway Kosovo.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she wanted Belgrade’s case to advance.
Serbia still refuses to recognise Kosovo’s declaration of independence.
Tension over the issue and concerns over its failure to deliver key war crimes suspects have damaged Belgrade’s EU bid. Further progress will depend on its full cooperation with a UN war crimes tribunal.
General Ratko Mladic, indicted for genocide over the Srebrenica massacre, remains at large.