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Western Balkans

Western Balkans

Trade plays an important role in the EU's efforts to promote peace, stability, freedom and economic prosperity in the Western Balkans.

Trade picture

The EU is the Western Balkans' largest trading partner, accounting for over 76% of the region's total trade.

As a whole the region's share of overall EU trade was 1.3% in 2016, however individual countries' shares were very low - Serbia (0.59%), Bosnia and Herzegovina (0.26%), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (0.24%), Albania (0.12%), Montenegro (0.03%) and Kosovo (0.03%).

Western Balkans:

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo. 1

In 2016, the EU's main imports from Western Balkans were

  • machinery and transport equipment (28.9%),
  • miscellaneous manufactured articles (22%),
  • and manufactured goods classified chiefly by materials (18.5%).

The EU's exports to the Western Balkans were mainly

  • machinery and transport equipment (29.5%),
  • manufactured goods classified chiefly by material (25.3%),
  • and chemicals (14.4%).

EU-Western Balkans: Trade in goods

Trade in goods 2015-2017, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2015 16.2 24.5 8.3
2016 17.8 25.9 8.2
2017 20.3 29.3 9.0

Date of retrieval: 16/04/2018

More statistics on Western Balkans

EU and the Western Balkans

All the Western Balkan countries have Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAAs) with the EU and have a clear EU perspective. The EU's strategy includes significant financial assistance through IPA (Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance), making it by far the largest donor to the region.

The EU strongly supports the membership of the Western Balkans states of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

  • Albania (2000), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (2003) and Montenegro (2011) are already WTO members.
  • The WTO accession negotiations with Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are still ongoing.

The EU's relations with the Western Balkans are governed by the Stabilisation and Association process.

  • There are six Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAAs) in force: with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (2004), Albania (2009), Montenegro (2010) and Serbia (2013), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2015) and Kosovo (2016).
  • The agreements aim to progressively establish a free trade area between the EU and the Western Balkans.
  • Where trade is concerned, they focus on liberalizing trade in goods, aligning rules on EU practice and protecting intellectual property.

For more information, see also: Commission Communication on "Western Balkans : Enhancing the European perspective" (March 2008), and the 2016 Communication on EU Enlargement Policy .

In order to further develop regional trade and to offer new opportunities for economic operators, a system of diagonal cumulation of origin has been set up between the European Union, the Western Balkans participating to the Stabilisation and Association Process and Turkey. This system allows a participating partner to use materials originating in other partner(s) of the zone under advantageous conditions in the manufacture of final goods which are exported to the European Union, the Western Balkans or Turkey.

Trading with Western Balkans

  1. This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence