Serbia - EU-Serbia relations
Serbia is a potential candidate country for EU accession following the Thessaloniki European Council of June 2003. On 29 April 2008, the EU and Serbia signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) and the Interim Agreement on Trade and Trade-related issues . The SAA will be submitted to parliaments for ratification and the implementation of the Interim Agreement will start as soon as the Council decides that Serbia fully co-operates with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). On 1 January 2008, a visa facilitation and a readmission agreement between Serbia and the EU came into force. On 15 July the European Commission proposed to grant visa liberalisation to Serbia.
On 18 February 2008 the Council adopted the new European partnership for Serbia. Consultations with the Serbian authorities across the range of reform issues are conducted through the Enhanced Permanent Dialogue process (EPD).
Serbia has benefited from EU autonomous trade measures since 2000. As a result of Serbia's decision to start implementing the provisions of the Interim Agreement, the access of EU exporters to the Serbian market is expected to improve substantially as of 1 January 2009. The EU is the main trading partner of Serbia and EU-Serbia trade has been rapidly growing since 2000. Trade integration with the EU is high. During 2007, exports and imports of goods and services to and from the EU increased to 56% of the country's total exports and 54% of its total imports, compared with 53% and 49% in 2006. Serbia has a large trade deficit with the EU: in 2007, its exports to the EU amounted to €3.6 billion and its imports from the EU to €7.4 billion. Serbia mainly sold agricultural products (sugar, raspberries), tires, iron, steel and machinery to the EU while the main goods bought from EU were vehicles, diesel fuels and medicaments. Net foreign direct investment from EU countries in Serbia in 2007 was around € 2.3 billion.
Key dates in Serbia's path towards the EU
15 July 2009 - European Commission proposes to grant Serbia visa liberalisation.
7 July 2008 - Following 11 May parliamentary elections, formation of a new government; European integration set as a key priority.
7 May 2008 - Commission hands over to the Serbian government the Road map on Visa liberalisation, set up with the aim of achieving a visa free regime for Serbian citizens wishing to travel to Schengen countries.
29 April 2008 - The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) and the Interim Agreement on Trade and Trade-related issues between Serbia and the EU is signed in Luxembourg.
18 February 2008 - Council adopts the revised European partnership for Serbia.
1 January 2008 - Entry into force of the Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreement between Serbia and the EU.
7 November 2007 - The SAA with Serbia is initialled.
13 June 2007 - SAA negotiations with Serbia resumed, following a clear commitment by the country to achieve full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and concrete actions undertaken by the country that have matched this commitment.
3 May 2006 - SAA negotiations called off due to lack of progress on Serbia's co-operation with the ICTY.
October 2005 – Launch of the negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
October 2004 - Council conclusions open up a process for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
June 2003 - at 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.
2001 - First year of the new Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilisation (CARDS) programme specifically designed for the SAP countries.
November 2000 - Zagreb Summit launches the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) for five countries of South-Eastern Europe.
November 2000 - “Framework Agreement Federal Republic of Yugoslavia-EU for the provision of Assistance and Support by the EU to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia”. Serbia benefits from Autonomous Trade Preferences from the EU.
June 2000 - Feira European Council states that all the SAP countries are “potential candidates” for EU membership.
1999 - The EU proposes the new Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) for five countries of South-Eastern Europe, including Serbia.
1997 - Regional Approach. The EU Council of Ministers establishes political and economic conditionality for the development of bilateral relations.