European Western Balkans


EWB Archives


Serbia numbers around 7 million residents. Its capital Belgrade is one of the largest cities in Southeast Europe.

During the breakup of Yugoslavia, Serbia formed a union with Montenegro which dissolved peacefully in 2006, when Serbia reestablished its independence. In 2008 the parliament of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence, with mixed responses from the international community.

Serbia is a member of numerous organisations such as the UN, Council of Europe, OSCE, Partnership for Peace, BSEC, and CEFTA. An EU membership candidate since 2012, Serbia has been negotiating its EU accession since January 2014. The country is acceding to the WTO and is a militarily neutral state.

Serbia – along with 5 other Western Balkans countries – was identified as a potential candidate for EU membership during the Thessaloniki European Council Summit in 2003. In 2008, the European partnership for Serbia was adopted, setting out priorities for the country’s membership application. Serbia formally applied in 2009. In March 2012, Serbia was granted the EU candidate status. The Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Serbia entered into force in September 2013.

In line with the decision of the European Council in June 2013 to open accession negotiations with Serbia, the Council adopted the negotiating framework in December 2013 and agreed to hold the 1st Intergovernmental Conference with Serbia in January 2014.

On 21 January 2014, the 1st Intergovernmental Conference took place, signalling the formal start of Serbia’s accession negotiations.

Important dates

7 November 2007 – Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia is initialled

29 April 2008 – Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) and Interim agreement on trade and trade-related issues are signed in Luxembourg

19 December 2009 – Visa requirement lifted for Serbs travelling to Schengen countries

22 December 2009 – Serbia applies for EU membership

14 June 2010 – EU members decide to start SAA ratification process

14 October 2011 – European Commission delivers its Opinion on Serbia’s EU membership application, granting candidate status based on one key priority

1 March 2012 – European Council confirms Serbia as a candidate country

1 September 2013 – Entry into force of the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Agreement

21 January 2014 – First EU-Serbia Intergovernmental Conference is held

28 August 2014 – The Berlin Process, an initiative aimed at stepping up regional cooperation in the Western Balkans and aiding the integration of these countries into the European Union was launched by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

14 December 2015 – Serbia opens Chapters 32 and 35

08 July 2016 – Serbia opens Chapters 23 and 24

13 December 2016 – Serbia opens Chapters 5 and 25. Chapter 25 provisionally closed

27 February 2017 – Serbia opens Chapters 20 and 26; Chapter 26 provisionally closed

20 June 2017 – Serbia opens Chapters 7 and 29

11 December 2017 – Serbia opens Chapters 6 and 30

25 June 2018 – Serbia opens Chapters 13 and 33

10 December 2018 – Serbia opens Chapters 17 and 18

27 June 2019 – Serbia opens Chapter 9

10 December 2019 – Serbia opens Chapter 4

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