EU - the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia relations
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was granted candidate country status for EU membership in 2005. On 18 February 2008 the Council adopted the Accession Partnership for the country, thus updating the previous European Partnership of January 2006. A visa facilitation agreement and readmission agreement with the EU has been in force since 1 January 2008. On 15 July the European Commission proposed to grant visa liberalisation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the countrywas signed on 9 April 2001 and entered into force on 1 April 2004. An Interim Agreement, covering trade and trade-related aspects, entered into force in June 2001.
The country’s openness to trade is high, with total trade (exports and imports of goods and services) amounting to 130% of GDP. However, the composition of exports is still concentrated on a few price-sensitive products, the main export commodities being textiles and steel. The trade deficit of the country in 2007 amounted to 21 % of GDP, with an output growth of 5%. EU continues to be the main trading partner accounting for 60% of total imports and 47% of total exports. The second most important trade destination are the neighbouring countries in the Western Balkan with about 34% of exports and about 11% of imports. In 2007, EU27 accounted for about 75% of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. In the first half of 2008 inflows of FDI have reached some 10% of GDP, compared to some 3% of GDP on average during the same period of the previous year.
Key dates in the country's path towards the EU
15 July 2009 - European Commission proposes to grant the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia visa liberalisation.
May 2008 - European Commission presents a roadmap setting out a number of benchmarks for visa liberalisation with the country
March 2008 - European Commission adopts a Communication on the Western Balkans which indicates benchmarks for moving to the next stage in the accession process
February 2008 - Visa liberalisation dialogue is launched
18 February 2008 - Council adopts the Accession Partnership for the country, thus updating the previous European Partnership of January 2006
1 January 2008 - Visa facilitation agreement and Readmission Agreement with the EU enters into force
30 January 2006- The Council adopts the European Partnership
16 December 2005 - Decision by the European Council to grant candidate status
9 November 2005 -Opinion by the Commission on the application from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for membership of the European Union .
14 February 2005- Hand over by the Government of the replies to the EC questionnaire to the Commission.
14 September 2004 - First meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council between the EU and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
17 May 2004 - Council requests the Commission to prepare an Opinion on the application.
1 April 2004- Entry into force of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA).
22 March 2004 - Application for EU membership.
June 2003 - At the Thessaloniki European Council, the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) is confirmed as the EU policy for the Western Balkans. The EU perspective for these countries is confirmed.
3 July 2001 - The Council adopts the first Joint Action on an EU Special Representative.
1 June 2001 - Entry into force of the Interim Agreement (covering the trade and trade-related parts of the SAA).
9 April 2001 - Signature of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA).
November 2000 - Zagreb Summit launches the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) for five countries of South-Eastern Europe, including the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
June 2000 - The Feira European Council states that all the SAP countries are "potential candidates" for EU membership.
1997 - Regional Approach. The EU Council of Ministers establishes political and economic conditionality for the development of bilateral relations. Signature on 29 April of a Co-operation Agreement and financial protocol to promote global co-operation; Agreement on Trade in Textile Products; Agreement in the field of Transport.
1996 - The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia becomes eligible for funding under the EC PHARE programme.