Kosovo will apply for European Union membership this week, Prime Minister Albin Kurti said, Reuters reported.
The process is expected to take years, if not decades, and depends on normalizing relations with Serbia. Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations, and five EU states refuse to recognize Kosovo's statehood.
"The European Union is a place of peace, security, equality and prosperity and that's why the Republic of Kosovo's place is in this joint house as a country that loves peace," Kurti said during a government session in Pristina.
Before Kosovo's eventual membership, an agreement must be reached with Serbia to normalize relations. The EU is already working on a deal, which it hopes both sides will agree to within a year.
In recent days, Serb protesters in northern Kosovo have blocked major roads following the arrest of a former Serb police officer amid growing tensions between the authorities and the Kosovo Serb minority.