Version: 1.0.20.21 (2020-10-12 14:45)

Western Balkans

Since the launch of the Stabilisation and Association Process, the EU has progressively concluded bilateral FTAs –referred to as "Stabilisation and Association Agreements" (SAAs) with each of the Western Balkan partners

  • Albania (2009)
  • North Macedonia (2004)
  • Montenegro (2010)
  • Serbia (2013)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (2015)
  • Kosovo* (2016)

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.)

 

The SAAs are tools which provide for the economic development and political stabilisation of the countries in the region, and for the creation of a close, long-term association between the EU and the Western Balkans. In effect, the SAAs constitute the legal instrument for alignment to the EU acquis and progressive integration into the EU market.

The SAAs have established a free-trade area over a transitional period which has now ended for all but Kosovo (2026).

The Agreements foresee the elimination of duties and non-tariff restrictions on bilateral trade and cover goods in all Chapters of the Harmonised System. Only few exceptions, concerning some agricultural and fishery products, are not fully liberalised, and are subject to reduced duties and/or preferential quantitative concessions.

 

The rules of origin are governed by the Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Convention.

In addition, the agreements include provisions concerning competition matters, a high level of protection of intellectual property rights and strengthened co-operation in customs matters. They also include additional disciplines concerning, notably, government procurement, legislative approximation in many areas including standardisation, as well as provisions regarding services and establishment.

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