EU relations with the Western Balkans

The EU has close links with the countries of the Western Balkans. It aims to secure stable, prosperous and well-functioning democratic societies on a steady path towards EU integration.

The conditions for establishing contractual relations with these countries were first laid down in the Council Conclusions of April 1997. In 1999, the Council established the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP). It was confirmed that the countries of the Western Balkans would be eligible for EU membership if they met the criteria established at the Copenhagen European Council in June 1993.

The European Council's determination to fully and effectively support the Western Balkans on their path towards European integration was reiterated by the Thessaloniki European Council of 19-20 June 2003, which endorsed the ‘Thessaloniki Declaration ’ and the ‘Thessaloniki Agenda for the Western Balkans: moving towards European integration ’. These documents were adopted at the EU-Western Balkans Summit held on 21 June 2003 in Thessaloniki.

The European Council of 14-15 December 2006 also reaffirmed the need for fair and rigorous conditions in line with the Copenhagen political criteria, the stabilisation and association process and the renewed consensus on admitting new countries to the EU (EU enlargement).

The EU's approach takes the form of a comprehensive set of policy instruments based on

  • the Stabilisation and Association Process
  • the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)
  • the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSPD).

EU enlargement policy also includes financial assistance, channelled mainly through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).

Each autumn, the European Commission adopts its annual Enlargement Strategy and Progress Reports on individual countries.

Montenegro and Serbia have started membership talks. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania are candidate countries, while the others are potential candidates for EU membership.

Under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the EU retains a key supporting role in stabilising Bosnia and Herzegovina, through a military-led mission (EUFOR/Althea). Between 2003 and 2012 the EU also deployed a police mission (EUPM) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Kosovo*, the EU has deployed a mission to support the Kosovo authorities in upholding the rule of law (EULEX).  CSDP missions have also been deployed in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Within the Stabilisation and Association Process, regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations are essential for stability and the region's ongoing reconciliation process.

For further information, see:

-  Annual Enlargement Strategy & Progress Reports

Council conclusions

 

* This designation is without prejudice to position on status, and is in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the International Court of Justice Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

 

 


News and Press ReleasesRSS

  • 20/03/2015
    High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini to visit Belgrade and Pristina High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini to visit Belgrade and Pristina 03/20/2015 12:05:30 03/20/2015 12:05:30 03/20/2015 12:05:30 03/08/2016 12:05:30 2015032012 090126248ecf7496 N 090126248ecf7496 /statements-eeas/2015/150320_01_en.htm 4669 xml Y /statements-eeas/2015/150320_01_en.htm 2 /statements-eeas/2015/150320_01_en.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150320_01_fr.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150320_01_zz.htm N ID_INTERNAL N N
    High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini to visit Belgrade and Pristina
  • 10/02/2015
    Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini following the resumption of the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini following the resumption of the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina <p class="s4">I met today in Brussels with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić and Prime Minister Isa Mustafa to resume the high level dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina for the normalisation of relations. </p> 02/10/2015 00:00:00 02/10/2015 00:00:00 02/10/2015 00:00:00 02/10/2015 00:00:00 2015021000 090126248e52b8ea N 090126248e52b8ea /statements-eeas/2015/150210_01_en.htm 5237 xml Y /statements-eeas/2015/150210_01_en.htm 2 /statements-eeas/2015/150210_01_en.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150210_01_fr.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150210_01_zz.htm N ID_INTERNAL N N
    Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini following the resumption of the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina
  • 06/02/2015
    High level dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina resuming on 9 February High level dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina resuming on 9 February 02/06/2015 09:57:55 02/06/2015 09:57:55 02/06/2015 09:57:55 02/06/2015 09:57:55 2015020609 090126248e460005 N 090126248e460005 /statements-eeas/2015/150206_02_en.htm 9357 xml Y /statements-eeas/2015/150206_02_en.htm 2 /statements-eeas/2015/150206_02_en.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150206_02_fr.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150206_02_zz.htm N ID_INTERNAL N N
    High level dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina resuming on 9 February
  • 31/01/2015
    Statement by the Spokesperson on the latest developments in former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Statement by the Spokesperson on the latest developments in former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 01/31/2015 19:13:00 01/31/2015 19:13:00 01/31/2015 19:13:00 01/07/2017 19:13:00 2015013119 090126248e35b6d4 N 090126248e35b6d4 /statements-eeas/2015/150131_01_en.htm 9423 xml Y /statements-eeas/2015/150131_01_en.htm 2 /statements-eeas/2015/150131_01_en.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150131_01_fr.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150131_01_zz.htm N ID_INTERNAL N N
    Statement by the Spokesperson on the latest developments in former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • 21/01/2015
    Remarks by the HR/VP Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington Remarks by the HR/VP Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington <p> <strong>HIGH REPRESENTATIVE MOGHERINI:</strong> Thank you, John. You’ve said it all. As my first trip as a minister was to Washington, my first trip, my visit as a high representative for the European Union outside of our immediate region is in Washington. In think that’s natural and that is exactly because we work every day on common challenges in a very united and common way.</p> 01/21/2015 00:00:00 01/21/2015 00:00:00 01/21/2015 00:00:00 01/09/2016 00:00:00 2015012100 090126248e1e2a7b N 090126248e1e2a7b /statements-eeas/2015/150122_03_en.htm 17611 xml Y /statements-eeas/2015/150122_03_en.htm 1 /statements-eeas/2015/150122_03_en.htm /statements-eeas/2015/150122_03_zz.htm N ID_INTERNAL N N
    Remarks by the HR/VP Federica Mogherini at the joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington

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