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International affairs


The implementation of the policy could briefly be described following the time path of a regular enlargement process:

The Stabilisation and Association process (SAA); all countries of the Western Balkans are part of this process, which is often perceived as a first step towards the articulation of an EU Membership request. The Stabilisation and Association process involves trade liberalisation, the development of free movement of goods, policy co-operation and regional co-operation. Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/99 has a clear European perspective in line with the European perspective of the Western Balkans.

The Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry contributes to this process by defining policy priorities for the countries in enterprise and industry policies (in particular chapter 20 of the acquis communautaire) and on requirements and issues relating to free movement of goods (chapter 1 of the acquis). It does so through the annual Enlargement package ( Reports) of the European Commission, including the European Partnerships (or Accession Partnership in the case of the three candidate countries), which articulate policy priorities, and finally, also through the regular dialogue which takes places in the so-called policy sub-committees with countries where a Stabilisation and Association Agreement is in place, or similar structures where such an SAA is not yet in place.

In these annual meetings, the country and the EC discuss policy priorities and exchange data and information on policies. DG Enterprise and Industry paricipates in the trade, industry, customs and taxation subcommittee, at which issues of free movement of goods, enterprise and industry policy, innovation, tourism as well as some industrial sector policies are discussed.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has an SAA in force since 2004, Albania in 2009, Montenegro in 2010, Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2008 and Serbia in 2013. Negotations with Kosovo were concluded in May 2014.

In the case of Turkey, relations are, since 1995, regulated in the Customs Union, whereas accession negotiations with the country started in 2005.

Membership application and Opinion. If and when a country applies for EU Membership, the Commission will issue a detailed analysis ("Opinion") of the readiness of the country in question. DG Enterprise and Industry in particular analyses the chapters dealing with the free movement of goods (chapter 1) and enterprise and industry policies (chapter 20). DG Enterprise and Industry has contributed recently in the ones on Iceland, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania.

Screening. Before negotiations are started, the Commission screens the extent to which the candidate countries apply the acquis communautaire in all the different policy areas. This phase has been concluded with Turkey in 2007, Iceland in 2011, Montenegro in 2012 and Serbia in 2014. In the case of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Commission has proposed the start of the negotiations, and the Council should take a decision on the issue.

Negotiations. Following the screening exercise, negotiations have been started with Turkey only on Chapter 20 and were provisionally closed in 2007. There is no negotiation ongoing on Chapter 1 as the chapter if one of the eight blocked because of the Cyprus issue. As regards Iceland, chapter 20 was provisionally closed in December 2011 and negotiations on chapter 1 were ongoing until 22 May 2013 when Iceland put an hold in the accession process. Negotiations with Montenegro and Serbia are ongoing.

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