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Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti announced that this week Kosovo will submit its application for membership in the European Union, KosovaPress reported. 

At a government meeting today, Kurti said that Kosovo has fulfilled the conditions for obtaining the status of a candidate country for EU membership.

"The European Union is a place of peace, security, equality and prosperity, and therefore the place of the Republic of Kosovo as a peace-loving country is in this common home," Kurti was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Before possible membership, Kosovo must reach an agreement with Serbia to normalize relations, the agency notes.

The EU is already working on a deal it hopes both sides will agree to within a year. 

Serb protesters in northern Kosovo have blocked major roads in recent days and there have been clashes with Kosovo police following the arrest of a former Serb policeman amid rising tensions between the authorities and Kosovo's Serb minority.

Tensions between Belgrade and Pristina have been constant since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008. The European Union and the United States have tried to help the two countries normalize relations, but so far without success. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina received the status of a candidate for EU membership

Kosovo is recognized as an independent state by about 110 countries, but not by Serbia, Russia, China and five EU member states - Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. 

There is reluctance to expand the union among the 27 member states of the EU, but Russia's invasion of Ukraine has contributed to efforts to improve relations with the six countries of the Western Balkans - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, the Republic of Northern Macedonia and Serbia, notes Reuters.

Kosovo is the only country in the region that has not yet applied for membership in the bloc.


EU membership