Belgium PM backs Kosovo's EU integration

10th March 2010, Comments 0 comments

Kosovo must be integrated into the European Union to stabilise the Balkans, Belgium Prime Minister Yves Leterme said Tuesday, urging all nations to accept the disputed territory's independence.

PRISTINA - "It must be clear for everyone that the future of Kosovo is a future within the European Union... European integration of Kosovo is very important to Belgium," Leterme told reporters during a visit to the capital, Pristina.

"The stability in the Western Balkans region and integration of the Western Balkans will be not completed of course without Kosovo."

Leterme and his Kosovo counterpart, Hashim Thaci, signed an agreement on bilateral protection and promotion of investments.

The Belgium prime minister said his country was among the first to recognise Kosovo after it unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February 2008.

This independence is recognised by 65 countries, among them the United States and most of the EU nations, but adamantly opposed by Serbia which considers the disputed territory its southern province.

"We are urging all countries to recognise the independence of Kosovo," Leterme said adding his nation, to take over the next rotation of the EU presidency in July, would focus on the EU's enlargement.

"The future enlargement of the European Union will of course be one of the hot topics of the European presidency."

"Of course the future of Kosovo within the European Union will be one of the items at stake," he said.


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