(BBC) EU governments have asked the European Commission to give its opinion on Serbia's bid to join the EU - seen as a new phase in relations with Belgrade.
The EU's Enlargement Commissioner, Stefan Fuele, said the move was an "expression of strong EU support" for Serbia's leaders.
Serbia presented its application for EU membership in December 2009. Formal accession talks have not yet started. Serbia has dropped its demand for international talks on Kosovo's status. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008 - a move condemned by Belgrade. But the unblocking of the status issue last month means a path is now open for direct talks between Kosovo and Serbia.
For further details, see BBC at this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11622619