EU relations with the Western Balkans

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  • 05/04/2014
    28 65744 1 Remarks by Catherine Ashton following the Gymnich meeting Remarks by Catherine Ashton following the Gymnich meeting /statements/docs/2014/140405_01_en.pdf 04/05/2014 15:00:00 04/05/2014 15:28:00 04/05/2014 15:00:00 nulldate 2014040515 European External Action Service 090126248ba5381c N 090126248ba5381c /statements/docs/2014/140405_01_en.pdf 440443 pdf Y /statements/docs/2014/140405_01_en.pdf 1 /statements/docs/2014/140405_01_en.pdf /statements/docs/2014/140405_01_zz.pdf N ID_INTERNAL N N
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  • 02/04/2014
    Albania has the capacity to tackle its European integration challenges
  • 31/03/2014
    35 65744 1 Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton after today's meeting in the framework of the EU-facilitated dialogue Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton after today's meeting in the framework of the EU-facilitated dialogue /statements/docs/2014/140331_03_en.pdf 03/31/2014 23:17:00 03/31/2014 23:17:00 03/31/2014 23:17:00 nulldate 2014033123 European External Action Service 090126248b9e0af1 N 090126248b9e0af1 /statements/docs/2014/140331_03_en.pdf 474707 pdf Y /statements/docs/2014/140331_03_en.pdf 1 /statements/docs/2014/140331_03_en.pdf /statements/docs/2014/140331_03_zz.pdf N ID_INTERNAL N N
    Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton after today's meeting in the framework of the EU-facilitated dialogue pdf - 464 KB [464 KB]

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The geographical proximity of the Western Balkans makes the region of particular importance for the EU. Each country is undertaking economic and political reforms – supported by the EU – bringing them closer in line with the EU.

The term ‘Western Balkans’ covers Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo under UN Security Resolution 1244, Montenegro and Serbia. With the exception of Albania, they were all a part of the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

After the break-up of Yugoslavia, the EU established the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe to stimulate economic and political reform in the Western Balkans, Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova. An EU monitoring mission was established to follow political, security and inter-ethnic issues, along with refugee returns.

At the Thessaloniki European Council of June 2003 all of the Western Balkans was considered potential future members of the EU. They have since moved towards EU integration; with varying progress. Whereas Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro have already been granted the status of candidate countries, the others remain potential candidates. Relations between them and the EU are founded upon Stabilisation and Association Agreements .

The agreement establishes free trade areas both with the EU and between the countries of the Western Balkans.

Kosovo , under UN resolution 1244, has a special status. It has not yet signed a stabilisation and association agreement, but is nonetheless engaged with the Union – the EU currently operates a rule of law and a policing mission there.