BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Kosovo took a step towards possible European Union membership on Tuesday, signing a trade and political pact with Brussels less than a decade after unilaterally declaring independence from Serbia.
“It is a milestone in our mutual relationship, in particular for the European aspirations of Kosovo,” EU Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn said during the signing ceremony in the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The pact comes despite the fact that EU states Spain, Cyprus, Romania, Greece and Slovakia do not recognise Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.
The pact signed, known as a stabilisation and association agreement, is a required step for every country that wants to join the EU. All Balkan countries have already signed similar deals with the EU.
The signature came after Kosovo had concluded talks with the EU in July 2014. The entry into force of the agreement is expected in 2016, EU officials said.