EU: Kosovo ties 'key' for Serbia's membership

AP News
Posted: Sep 04, 2012 6:25 AM

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's top official says that Serbia needs to improve its strained ties with its former province of Kosovo if it's going to make progress in its ambition to join the EU.

European Council President Herman van Rompuy says Tuesday that an improvement is the "key requirement" for Belgrade's EU membership.

He praised Serbia's new, nationalist-leaning government for its decision to remove a key stumbling block in Kosovo's participation in international forums.

But he told Serbia's visiting Prime Minister Ivica Dacic that a solution to the volatile situation in northern Kosovo was needed. Members of the Serbian minority there reject the authority of the ethnic Albanian-dominated government in Pristina.

Belgrade has vowed to never recognize Kosovo's 2008 secession, but the two sides have been in talks on normalizing ties.