March 23, 2016 | Wednesday
The Stabilisation and Association Process between the Western Balkan Countries and European Union is implemented through the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). The Stabilisation Association Process (SAP) was initiated in 1999 and was further strengthened at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003.The agreements for the SAP are adapted to each partner country, as such, establishing a free trade area between the partner country and the EU. The SAA identifies common political and economic objectives which then enable Western Balkan countries to be involved in a progressive partnership with the aim of stabilizing the region and establishing a free-trade area. The SAA agreements serve as the basis for the accession process into the European Union (Source: European Commission 2012).
This month’s photo blog highlights official photos surrounding the SAA process for Balkan countries.
Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Croatia
The Stabilisation Association Agreement was the first agreement between the European Union and Balkan countries, in this case Croatia, which was similar to the “European Agreement” signed by previous candidate countries. The agreement with Croatia was signed on October 29th, 2001 and entered into force February 1st 2005. Croatia successfully joined the EU in July 2013. (Source: European Commission 2015).
Croatian Prime Minister Ivica Racan and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tonino Picula together with then President of European Commission Romano Prodi sign the SAA in Brussels in 2001 (Photo Source: Croatia.eu )
The Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and FYR of Macedonia
The SAA between the European Union and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was signed on April 1st 2004. The SAA with Macedonia covers both economic and political aspects including provision for four freedoms: movements of good,; movements of workers, movements of capital and supply of services. The agreement provides for the creation of a free trade area between the EU and FYR of Macedonia for a time span of 10 years. Additionally, the agreement seeks to enhance cooperation and good relations with other countries in the region (Source: European Commission 2012).
Javier Solana, EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy met Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in 2009 at the roundtable discussion for the Stabilisation and Association Council (Photo Source: European Council Newsroom)
Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Montenegro
The SAA between EU and Montenegro was signed in October 15th 2007 and entered into force on May 1st 2010. The SAA with the Montenegrin government aims to strengthen democracy and rule of law, to contribute to political, economic and institutional stability in the country, to enhance the relations and cooperation of Montenegro with countries in the region as well as to support Montenegro to complete the transition to a functioning market economy. This SAA also created a free trade area with the EU for the 5 years following the entry into force of the SAA (Source: European Commision 2012).
Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council meets Igor Luksic, Prime Minister of Montenegro at the Stabilisation and Association Council roundtable in 2011. (Photo Source: Council of European Union Newsroom)
Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Albania
The Stablisation Association Agreement between the European Community and Republic of Albania was signed on June 2006 and entered into force on April 2009. From the date the agreement entered into force, it replaced the Agreement between the European Economic Community and Republic of Albania regarding trade, commercial and economic cooperation that was signed on May1992. The main objectives of this agreement was to support Albania to strengthen democracy and rule of law, to contribute to political, economic and institutional stability in the country, to support Albania to develop its economic and international cooperation and to foster regional cooperation in all fields covered by the Agreement (Source: European Commision 2012).
2011 EU-Albania Stabilisation and Association Council Press Conference in Brussels (Photo Source: Council of European Union Newsroom)
Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Kosovo
The negotiations for Kosovo’s Stabilisation Association Agreement with the European Union concluded in October 2013 and was initialled in July 2014. On October 22nd 2015 the European Council officially approved the SAA which has also been ratified by Kosovo’s parliament. The SAA is expected to go into force in April 2016.
This agreement opens a new phase in the Kosovo-EU relationship as it represents an important step in increasing prosperity and stability for Kosovo and the region. Once entered into force, the SAA will focus on respect fo democratic principles and core elements of the EU’s single market. Through the SAA a free trade area will be established along with additional support for the application of European standards such as in competition, state aid and intellectual property in the Kosovo. Additionally, the agreement will help to enhance the political dialogue and cooperation in a wide variety of sectors ranging from education, employment, energy, environment, and justice (Source: European Council 2015).
The Stabilisation Association Agreement being signed between EU and Kosovo by Isa Mustafa, Prime Minister of Kosovo and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiation. (Photo Source: Council of European Union Newsroom)