World

Kosovo signs stabilization and association agreement, first integration step with EU

  • Luan Bucaj, owner of Las Palmas flower plantation, selects flowers in the village of Konjuh, Kosovo, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2015. Kosovo signs a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union, a historic milestone that will help the economic growth of one of Europe's poorest countries. Bucaj started the first contact with European clients to export his products to EU countries after bureaucratic barriers prevented him in the past years. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

    Luan Bucaj, owner of Las Palmas flower plantation, selects flowers in the village of Konjuh, Kosovo, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2015. Kosovo signs a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union, a historic milestone that will help the economic growth of one of Europe's poorest countries. Bucaj started the first contact with European clients to export his products to EU countries after bureaucratic barriers prevented him in the past years. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Kosovar checks his mobile phone as he walks past EU Information and Cultural Office in Kosovo's capital Pristina Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2015. Kosovo signs a stabilization and association agreement with the European Union, a historic milestone that will help the economic growth of one of Europe's poorest countries. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

    A Kosovar checks his mobile phone as he walks past EU Information and Cultural Office in Kosovo's capital Pristina Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2015. Kosovo signs a stabilization and association agreement with the European Union, a historic milestone that will help the economic growth of one of Europe's poorest countries. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)  (The Associated Press)

  • Luan Bucaj, owner of Las Palmas flower plantation, tends to his flowers in the village of Konjuh, Kosovo, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2015. Kosovo signs a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union, a historic milestone that will help the economic growth of one of Europe's poorest countries. Bucaj started the first contact with European clients to export his products to EU countries after bureaucratic barriers prevented him in the past years. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

    Luan Bucaj, owner of Las Palmas flower plantation, tends to his flowers in the village of Konjuh, Kosovo, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2015. Kosovo signs a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union, a historic milestone that will help the economic growth of one of Europe's poorest countries. Bucaj started the first contact with European clients to export his products to EU countries after bureaucratic barriers prevented him in the past years. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)  (The Associated Press)

Kosovo is signing a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the European Union, a historic milestone that 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 says 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 $1.4 billion) 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 recognized by more than 100 countries. Five EU member countries that do not recognize it have, nevertheless, approved the agreement.

This story has been corrected to show that the signing ceremony has not yet taken place.