Stabilisation and Association Agreement negotiations successfully completed (02/05/2014)

Today the negotiations of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the European Union and Kosovo were successfully completed in Pristina. In the third, final round of negotiations, co-chaired by the European Union's Chief Negotiator Jean-Eric Paquet, Director in DG Enlargement, and Kosovo's Chief Negotiator Vlora Çitaku, Minister of European Integration, the two teams have successfully agreed on the full text of the SAA, in line with the commitment Commissioner Füle made in the enlargement strategy last year.

In the presence of Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi, both chief negotiators have expressed their satisfaction with the result.

Director of DG Enlargement Jean-Eric Paquet said: "I would like to recognise the hard work and professionalism with which the Kosovo negotiating team worked on the Agreement. The negotiations on the SAA have been very intensive. During this process, Kosovo has demonstrated political maturity as well as good technical capacities to negotiate on complex matters. The agreement provides for a clear European perspective of Kosovo."

Minister Vlora Çitaku said: "Today we approved the entire text comprised of 10 headings, 5 protocols and 6 annexes. The Agreement has the same structure and contents as the agreements of all regional countries, and it also includes all elements of a full political and economical cooperation between Kosovo and EU. Upon the effectiveness of the SAA, European Union will fully liberalize the EU market for Kosovo products, whereas Kosovo will continue to protect for some more time several specific product categories.”

The SAA is comprehensive and includes provisions on trade, political dialogue, justice, freedom and security, and a range of other policy areas. The Agreement will anchor Kosovo into the mainstream of the EU-Western Balkans relations. Following the Lisbon Treaty, which conferred legal personality to the European Union, the Stabilisation and Association Agreement will be concluded in the form of an EU-only agreement, involving the EU on one side and Kosovo on the other. Both parties will now launch internal consultations on the whole text in view of initialling the agreement this summer. The negotiations were launched at the end of October last year.