PRISTINA, Kosovo ( Associated Press) — Kosovo’s leaders signed a formal request Wednesday to make the country a candidate for European Union membership amid a long-running dispute with neighboring Serbia, which promptly canceled the process. asked me to do.
The president, prime minister and head of Kosovo’s parliament signed a letter on Thursday to be sent to the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.
“This is the beginning of a new chapter,” declared Prime Minister Albin Kurti. “Progress will depend on our commitment to deep, transformative reforms that strengthen our democracy and our economy.”
The process for Kosovo, the most recent of the western Balkan countries to apply for EU membership, is likely to be long and difficult, and not just because of tensions with Serbia.
Kosovo is a majority ethnic Albanian country that declared itself independent from Serbia in 2008. Serbia does not recognize that independence and considers Kosovo its territory, even though it has no control there.
Serbia has reacted furiously to Kosovo’s request to join the European Union, and its officials have warned they will tell the five EU members who do not recognize Kosovo, along with Hungary, in Brussels To block the initiative. Those five are Greece, Spain, Romania, Slovakia and Cyprus.
EU expansion has slowed in recent years, but since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, the bloc’s officials have stressed the importance of strengthening ties with western Balkan countries.
There are six European nations that are at different stages of their process of joining the European Union.
Semini reported from Tirana, Albania; and Dusan Stojanovic from Belgrade.