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Map of South Eastern Europe;
     Member states      Candidates      Application submitted      SAA signed      Kosovo: disputed

In talks with countries who have expressed the wish to join the European Union (EU), the EU typically concludes Association Agreements in exchange for commitments to political, economic, trade, or human rights reform in a country. In exchange, the country may be offered tariff-free access to some or all EU markets (industrial goods, agricultural products, etc), and financial or technical assistance.

Contents

Overview

Stabilisation and Association agreements are part of the EU Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) and European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). At present, the countries of the western Balkans are the focus of the SAP. Specific Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAA) have been implemented with various Balkan countries (see below) which explicitly include provisions for future EU membership of the country involved. SAAs are similar in principle to the Europe Agreements signed with the Central and Eastern European countries in the 1990s and to the Association Agreement with Turkey.

SAAs are based mostly on the EU's acquis communautaire and predicated on its promulgation in the cooperating states legislation. The depth of the policy harmonisation expected by SAA is less than for EU member states; some policy areas in the Acquis may not be covered by a given SAA.

Association agreements must be ratified by the associating state and all EU member states.

The EU's relations with the Western Balkans states (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia) were moved from the "External Relations" to the "Enlargement" policy segment in 2005. These states currently are not recognised as candidate countries, but only as "potential candidate countries".[1] This is a consequence of the advancement of the Stabilisation and Association process.

Stabilisation and Association Process

Event Republic of
Macedonia
Croatia Albania Montenegro 1 Bosnia and
Herzegovina
Serbia 2 Kosovo
(under UNSCR 1244)3
SAA negotiations start 5.4.2000 24.11.2000 31.1.2003 10.10.2005 25.11.2005 10.10.2005 (?)
SAA initialled 24.11.2000 14.5.2001 28.2.2006 15.3.2007 4.12.2007 7.11.2007 (?)
SAA/IA signature 9.4.2001 29.10.2001 12.6.2006 15.10.2007 16.6.2008 29.4.2008 (?)
Interim Agreement:
EC ratification 27.4.2001 30.1.2002 12.6.2006 15.10.2007 16.6.2008 8.12.2009 (?)
SAP state ratification 27.4.2001 30.1.2002 9.10.2006 14.11.2007 20.6.2008 22.9.2008 (?)
entry into force 1.6.2001 1.3.2002 1.12.2006 1.1.2008 1.7.2008 1.2.2010 (?)
SAA Ratification by:
SAP state 27.4.2001 30.1.2002 9.11.2006 13.11.2007 26.2.2009 22.9.2008 (?)
European Communities 25.2.2004 21.12.2004 26.2.2009 (2010) (2010) (2010) (?)
Austria 6.9.2002 15.3.2002 21.5.2008 4.7.2008 4.9.2009 (2010) (?)
Belgium 29.12.2003 17.12.2003 22.10.2008 (2010) (2010) (2010) (?)
Bulgaria entered the EU later 30.5.2008 13.3.2009 (2010) (?)
Cyprus entered the EU later 30.5.2008 20.11.2008 2.7.2009 (2010) (?)
Czech Republic entered the EU later 7.5.2008 19.2.2009 23.7.2009 (2010) (?)
Denmark 10.4.2002 8.5.2002 24.4.2008 25.6.2008 26.5.2009 (2010) (?)
Estonia entered the EU later 17.10.2007 22.11.2007 11.9.2008 (2010) (?)
Finland 6.1.2004 6.1.2004 29.11.2007 18.3.2009 7.4.2009 (2010) (?)
France 4.6.2003 4.6.2003 12.2.2009 30.7.2009 (2010) (2010) (?)
Germany 20.6.2002 18.10.2002 19.2.2009 16.11.2009 14.8.2009 (2010) (?)
Greece 27.8.2003 27.8.2003 26.2.2009 4.3.2010 (2010) (2010) (?)
Hungary entered the EU later 23.4.2007 14.5.2008 22.10.2008 (2010) (?)
Ireland 6.5.2002 6.5.2002 11.6.2007 4.6.2009 4.6.2009 (2010) (?)
Italy 30.10.2003 6.10.2004 7.1.2008 13.10.2009 (2010) (2010) (?)
Latvia entered the EU later 19.12.2006 17.10.2008 12.11.2009 (2010) (?)
Lithuania entered the EU later 17.5.2007 4.3.2009 4.5.2009 (2010) (?)
Luxembourg 28.7.2003 1.8.2003 4.7.2007 11.6.2009 (2010) (2010) (?)
Malta entered the EU later 21.4.2008 11.12.2008 7.1.2010 (2010) (?)
Netherlands 9.9.2002 30.4.2004 10.12.2007 29.1.2009 30.9.2009 (2010) (?)
Poland entered the EU later 14.4.2007 6.2.2009 (2010) (2010) (?)
Portugal 14.7.2003 14.7.2003 11.7.2008 23.9.2008 29.6.2009 (2010) (?)
Romania entered the EU later 15.1.2009 8.1.2010 (2010) (?)
Slovakia entered the EU later 20.7.2007 29.7.2008 17.3.2009 (2010) (?)
Slovenia entered the EU later 18.1.2007 7.2.2008 10.3.2009 (2010) (?)
Spain 4.10.2002 4.10.2002 3.5.2007 12.3.2009 (2010) (2010) (?)
Sweden 25.6.2002 27.3.2003 21.3.2007 11.3.2009 14.9.2009 (2010) (?)
United Kingdom 17.12.2002 3.9.2004 16.10.2007 12.1.2010 (2010) (2010) (?)
SAA entry into force 1.4.2004 1.2.2005 1.4.2009 (2010) (2010) (2010) (?)

(brackets): earliest possible date
1 For Montenegro, negotiations started in November 2005 while a part of Serbia and Montenegro. Separate technical negotiations were conducted regarding issues sub-state organizational competency. Mandate for direct negotiations with Montenegro established in July 2006. Direct negotiations were initiated on 26 September 2006 and concluded on 1 December 2006.[1]

2 For Serbia, negotiations started in November 2005 (as part of SiM, modified mandate from July 2006), implementation of the treaty awaiting the arrest of Ratko Mladić.

3 For Kosovo, a partially recognized breakaway province of Serbia, negotiations on a Stabilisation Tracking Mechanism began in 2003 and are still ongoing. The EU is still divided on how exactly to continue the SAP with Kosovo, as some of its members remain opposed to Kosovo's independence.

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ Candidate countries, European Union's official site
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