Kosovo says it will apply for EU membership — RT World News

The breakaway province of Serbia aims to apply by the end of the year, seeking advantages for its candidacy

Kosovo will submit a formal application for EU membership by the end of 2022, in order to access the benefits of candidate status, the breakaway province’s foreign minister told local media on Wednesday.

“We said we would apply this year, and we will apply this year,” Donika Gervalla-Schwarz told KlanKosova TV. “We have also informed our international partners that our aim is to apply this year, as we want to have EU candidate status.”

Gervalla-Schwarz pointed out that more than 90% of Kosovo residents are in favor of EU and NATO membership, and support both as “the only way to a European future”, who she thinks is applying for membership “only natural.”

Kosovo is “a leader of democracy in our region”, Gervalla-Schwarz said, adding that “There is no reason why Kosovo should be treated differently from other countries in the region, which are not nearly as democratic.”

NATO occupied Kosovo in 1999, after a 78-day war against what was then Yugoslavia on behalf of Albanian separatists. The US-backed interim government declared independence in 2008, but was not recognized by either Serbia or the UN. Five EU Member States have not recognized Kosovo to date.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told his parliament on Tuesday that the EU was trying to pressure Belgrade to recognize Kosovo as a precondition for joining the bloc, but that he had no intention of do so during his tenure.

Meanwhile, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti traveled to neighboring Albania for an unscheduled visit, ostensibly to discuss economic and energy issues with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama. Kurti’s party has openly advocated the unification of Kosovo and Albania.

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