Kosovo may take the first major steps towards joining the European Union, despite the dispute with Serbia over its independence.
As the EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele said, the resumption of dialogue with Belgrade is "not a precondition" for Kosovo to start talks with the EU on a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), which is the first formal contract on the path towards the Union membership.
For the integration process to get started, Kosovo was, however, obliged to deliver progress in the areas "concerning the rule of law, administration capacities, protection of minorities and trade capacities," as Fuele said.
Serbia, also an EU candidate state, must resume talks with Pristina and attempt at improving relations with its breakaway southern province in order to continue its EU accession talks.
Kosovo's independence, which was unilaterally proclaimed in 2008, is recognized by more than ninety countries, including the US and twenty two EU member states.
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