Kosovo inches closer to EU
(PRISTINA) - Kosovo took a step closer to European integration on Tuesday when EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele officially launched a feasibility study on an EU - Kosovo association deal.
"We have formally launched the feasibility study for the stabilisation and association agreement (SAA) with Kosovo," Fuele said after meeting top officials in Pristina.
Speaking of a "new era" in Kosovo-EU relations, Fuele said the study "moves the European agenda for Kosovo further forward".
The study will provide a comprehensive framework for Pristina and Brussels to discuss all issues that need to be tackled if Kosovo wants to join the European bloc. It is considered a key step towards a SAA agreement.
"It will enable us to make a comprehensive analysis of our political, economic and legal readiness" for the EU, Kosovo president Atifete Jahjaga said after her meeting with Fuele.
She added that the study "cements Kosovo's place in the European Union policies regarding the Western Balkans".
Fuele warned Kosovo's leaders they must now reach consensus on the need "to focus on issues that are of immediate relevance to the feasibility study", such as trade, public administration reform, electoral reform, rule of law and the integration of minorities.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Despite Belgrade's fierce diplomatic opposition Kosovo has been recognised by 89 countries, among them the United States and a majority of EU members.
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