The European Union's approach to South Eastern Europe has been governed since 1999 by the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) offering the Western Balkan countries a framework promoting peace, stability, freedom and economic prosperity.
The SAP sets out common political and economic goals. The achievement of these goals is supported by contractual, economic and financial instruments to strengthen reforms and accompany the transition process in the Western Balkans. Regional co-operation is a fundamental part of the procedure.
Main elements for the agriculture and rural development sector
The two main instruments allowing the EU to stabilise and progressively bring the Balkan countries in line with its own economic and legal systems are:
- the Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAA), including trade preferences,
- the technical and financial assistance (IPA – Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance).