EU agrees talk to Serbia for open membership

The leaders of the European Union have agreed to open membership negotiations with Serbia by January at the latest, in acknowledgment of its efforts to improve ties with seceded Kosovo. The step indicates EU inclination toward embracing once-troubled countries in the Balkans.

Presidents and Prime Ministers from the 27 EU nations also welcomed Croatia’s upcoming accession as the bloc’s 28th member. In the two-day summit held in Brussels the EU agreed on seven-year, €960-billion budget. The EU leaders also announced negotiations for closer relations with Kosovo, a possible step on the way to membership talks.

Serbia and Kosovo:

Kosovo, a former province of Serbia, declared independence in 2008. Serbia has never recognized the sovereignty of Kosovo, which is considered by Serbia’s nationalists to be the cradle of the country’s medieval statehood and religion. However, Kosovo has been recognised by over 90 countries including the U.S. and 22 of the EU’s 27 members. In April 2013 a vital agreement was reached b/w Serbia and Kosovo when they decided to normalize relations and end years of acrimony.

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