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Kosovo signs milestone association agreement with EU

Kosovo has signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union, a historic milestone which will help the economic growth of one of Europe's poorest countries.

Tuesday's signature in Strasbourg opens the way to eventual full membership into the EU, Kosovo's main trading partner.

European Integration Minister Bekim Collaku said the agreement marks a "new milestone because it establishes contractual relations between the Republic of Kosovo and the EU".

The EU has been Kosovo's main supporter with about 1.3 billion euros (some £935 million) in development aid for 2007-2020, according to Thomas Gnocchi, of the EU office in Kosovo.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has been recognised by more than 100 countries. Five EU member countries that do not recognise it have, nevertheless, approved the agreement.

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