In talks with countries and territories that have expressed a wish to join the "European Union, the EU typically concludes "Association Agreements in exchange for commitments to political, economic, trade, or "human rights reform in that country or territory. In exchange, the country or territory may be offered "tariff-free access to some or all EU markets ("industrial goods, "agricultural products, etc.), and financial or technical assistance.
Stabilisation and Association agreements are part of the EU Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) and "European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). At present, the countries and territories of the "Western Balkans are the focus of the SAP. Specific Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAA) have been implemented with various Balkan countries and territories 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' and territories' "legislation. The depth of the policy harmonization expected by SAA is less than for "EU member states; some policy areas in the Acquis may not be covered by a given SAA.
The EU's relations with the Western Balkans states and territories were moved from the ""External Relations" to the ""Enlargement" policy segment in 2005. As of 2015, "Albania, "Macedonia, "Montenegro and "Serbia are officially recognized as "candidates for membership. "Bosnia and Herzegovina and "Kosovo are not recognised as candidate countries, but as "potential candidates.
As of April 2016, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia have SAA's in force. Croatia formerly had a SAA, but it lapsed when they "acceded to the EU in 2013.
The agreement with Kosovo, a territory not universally recognized as a country, was the first signed after the entry into force of the "Lisbon treaty, which conferred a legal personality to the EU. As a result, an EU representative in Kosovo explained that "unlike SAA with other countries of the region, this one will be exclusively the EU agreement. The EU will co-sign it as a legal entity." The agreement did not need to be individually ratified by each member state, some of which have not "recognized the independence of Kosovo. The representative went on to say that "since Kosovo is not recognized by the five member states, we had to issue a directive saying that the signing of the agreement will not signify that the EU or any of the countries recognize Kosovo as a state."
|Event||"Macedonia ||"Croatia ||"Albania ||"Montenegro [Note 1]||"Bosnia and
|"Serbia [Note 2]||"Kosovo* [Note 3]|
|SAA negotiations start||2000-04-05||2000-11-24||2003-01-31||2005-10-10||2005-11-25||2005-10-10||2013-10-28|
|EC ratification||2001-04-27||2002-01-30||2006-06-12||2007-10-15||2008-06-16||2009-12-08||N/A [Note 4]|
|SAP state ratification||2001-04-27||2002-01-30||2006-10-09||2007-11-14||2008-06-20||2008-09-22||N/A [Note 4]|
|entry into force||2001-06-01||2002-03-01||2006-12-01||2008-01-01||2008-07-01||2010-02-01||N/A [Note 4]|
|Deposit of the instrument of ratification:|
|"Bulgaria||entered the EU later||2008-05-30||2009-03-13||2010-08-12||N/A|
|"Croatia||entered the EU later||N/A|
|"Cyprus||entered the EU later||2008-05-30||2008-11-20||2009-07-02||2010-11-26||N/A|
|"Czech Republic||entered the EU later||2008-05-07||2009-02-19||2009-07-23||2011-01-28||N/A|
|"Estonia||entered the EU later||2007-10-17||2007-11-22||2008-09-11||2010-08-19||N/A|
|"Hungary||entered the EU later||2007-04-23||2008-05-14||2008-10-22||2010-11-16||N/A|
|"Latvia||entered the EU later||2006-12-19||2008-10-17||2009-11-12||2011-05-30||N/A|
|"Lithuania||entered the EU later||2007-05-17||2009-03-04||2009-05-04||2013-06-26||N/A|
|"Malta||entered the EU later||2008-04-21||2008-12-11||2010-01-07||2010-07-06||N/A|
|"Poland||entered the EU later||2007-04-14||2009-02-06||2010-04-07||2012-01-13||N/A|
|"Romania||entered the EU later||2009-01-15||2010-01-08||2012-05-22||N/A|
|"Slovakia||entered the EU later||2007-07-20||2008-07-29||2009-03-17||2010-11-11||N/A|
|"Slovenia||entered the EU later||2007-01-18||2008-02-07||2009-03-10||2010-12-07||N/A|
|"European Communities or
"European Union and "Euratom
|2004-02-25||2004-12-21||2009-02-26||2010-03-29||2015-04-30||2013-07-22||2016-02-24 [Note 5]|
|SAA entry into force||2004-04-01||2005-02-01||2009-04-01||2010-05-01||2015-06-01||2013-09-01||2016-04-01|
|EU membership (SAA lapsed)||(?)||2013-07-01||(?)||(?)||(?)||(?)||(?)|
(brackets): earliest possible date
N/A: Not applicable.