BRUSSELS – The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between the European Union and Kosovo enters into force today, 1 April 2016. The SAA establishes a contractual relationship that entails mutual rights and obligations and covers a wide variety of sectors. It will support the implementation of reforms and will give Kosovo an opportunity to move closer to Europe.
“This agreement opens a new phase in the EU-Kosovo relationship and represents an important contribution to peace, stability and prosperity in Kosovo and the region at large. I am looking forward to its implementation,” said High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on the occasion of it coming into force.
“This agreement is a milestone for the EU-Kosovo relationship: it will help keep Kosovo on the path of reform and will create trade and investment opportunities. I am very much looking forward to my next visit to Pristina to mark this important moment and to explain the benefits it can bring in terms of growth and employment to Kosovo businesses, investors and the general public,” said Commissioner Johannes Hahn.
The SAA focuses on respect for key democratic principles and core elements that are at the heart of the EU’s single market. The SAA will establish an area that allows for free trade and the application of European standards in other areas such as competition, state aid and intellectual property. Other provisions cover political dialogue, cooperation in a wide variety of sectors ranging from education and employment to energy, the environment and justice and home affairs.
The SAA was signed on 27 October 2015 by Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, and Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, for the European Union, while for Kosovo it was signed by Prime Minister Isa Mustafa and Minister for European Integration Bekim Collaku.
The SAA was negotiated between October 2013 and May 2014, signed on 27 October 2015 and formally concluded on 12 February 2016.
The European Union will continue to support Kosovo’s progress in its European path through the Stabilisation and Association process, the policy designed by the EU to foster cooperation with the Western Balkan countries as well as regional cooperation. Stabilisation and Association Agreements are a core component of this process. In order to support the necessary reforms, the EU makes available pre-accession assistance to the Western Balkans and Turkey amounting to some €11.7 billion over the period 2014-2020, of which €645.5 million is allocated to Kosovo.