Agreement on Stabilization and Association

The Stabilisation and Association Agreement is a new third generation of Europe Agreements proposed mainly to the countries of the Western Balkans under the structure of the Stabilisation and Association Process. The agreement is the international treaty that is at the heart of national legislation and it is a law of obligation for all levels of government in the country. The SSA framework for Bosnia and Herzegovina is already defined and follows the examples of countries in the region that have already signed it. The Stabilisation and Association Process is a framework policy of the European Union for the countries of the Western Balkans and a confirmation of its long-standing commitment to this region. The main elements of this policy were proposed in the European Commission`s communication of May 1999 and the sealing of this process was laid down at the Zagreb Summit in 2000. At this summit, the regional agreement was concluded to clearly define the objectives and conditions of the final declaration. The EU has adopted the Stabilisation and Association Process as a strategy for the Western Balkans with the aim of strengthening peace, initiating stability and democracy and offering a European perspective to the five Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro). With the conclusion of the agreement, Bosnia and Herzegovina, thanks to the “evolution clause”, confirms the status of the country of the potential candidate, which is much more than the signatory states of the Europe Agreement in terms of subsequent association with the EU. For the purposes of regional cooperation, the signatory country undertakes to sign bilateral agreements with the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and the candidate countries. The Stabilisation and Association Agreements are part of the EU`s Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). SAP is currently focusing on the western Balkan countries.

Specific Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAAs) have been implemented with various Balkan countries, which explicitly contain provisions for the future accession of the country concerned to the EU. The SAAs are in principle similar to the Europe Agreements signed in the 1990s with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Association Agreement with Turkey. The agreement with Kosovo was the first to be signed after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, which gave the EU legal personality. [2] [3] As a result, an EU representative in Kosovo stated that “unlike the SAA with other countries in the region, this agreement will be exclusively the EU agreement. The EU will co-sign it as a legal entity. [4] The agreement did not have to be ratified individually by each member state, some of which did not recognise Kosovo`s independence. [5] The representative continued: “Since Kosovo is not recognised by the five member states, we had to issue a directive stating that the signing of the agreement will not mean that the EU or any of the countries will recognise Kosovo as a state.” [4] Given the importance of the rules dealing with the issue of the market, the SAA is also considered to be a procurement agreement. During the technical rounds of negotiations, most of the time and efforts have been invested in market organization and product schedules, for which Bosnia and Herzegovina will systematically make tariff concessions over a period of 6 years until full liberalization with the European Union market. Bosnia and Herzegovina enjoys the unilateral market privileges of 1997, when the European Union liberalised its market for products from Bosnia and Herzegovina, through certain restrictions on certain product groups on which the EU insists on maintaining the quota. The Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Communities and their Member States (SAA) is an existing legal framework governing relations between the Republic of Macedonia and the European Union. The SAA provides a framework for political dialogue and strengthens regional cooperation, promotes the expansion of markets and economic relations between the parties and creates the basis for technical and financial assistance. It includes the following 10 titles: General Principles; Political dialogue; regional cooperation; the free movement of goods; free movement of workers, establishment, provision of services, capital; approximation of laws and prosecutions; Justice and Home Affairs; cooperation policy; Financial cooperation and institutional, general and final arrangements. Once the agreement is signed, the next step is to obtain candidate status in the European Union.

In the meantime, Bosnia and Herzegovina will draw up the implementation plan for the Stabilisation and Association Agreement which, together with the priorities of the European Partnership in the framework of the strategy for the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the European Union, will establish a programme for the integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the EU. As the agreement is mixed in nature, for it to be fully implemented, it must be confirmed (ratified) in all the parliaments of the Member States, the European Parliament and the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Saa has been in force in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia since April 2016. Croatia had an ASA, but it expired when it joined the EU in 2013. Important reform processes are expected in the next period to enable Bosnia and Herzegovina to adapt and better meet the criteria for accession to the European Union, while working towards the implementation of the SAA. In this context, public administration reform will become even more important as one of the most important criteria and will be highlighted as one of the most important reform processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Without a successful reform of public administration, it will be impossible to reach the “Common European Administrative Space” and meet the “Copenhagen and Madrid” criteria, which are the key to access to the EU. SAAs are mainly based on the EU acquis communautaire and are based on its promulgation in the legislation of the cooperating states.

The depth of policy harmonisation expected from the SAA is lower than that of the EU Member States; Some policy areas of the acquis may not fall within the scope of a specific SAA. In discussions with countries that have expressed a desire to join the European Union, the EU usually concludes association agreements in exchange for commitments on political, economic, trade or human rights reforms in that country. In return, the country may be offered duty-free access to some or all EU markets (industrial products, agricultural products, etc.) as well as financial or technical assistance. With the signing of the agreement, Bosnia and Herzegovina begins to open its market, which means that it reduces and eliminates customs duties on the agreed product groups. Bosnia and Herzegovina also signed the interim agreement with the EU in Luxembourg on 16 July. With the signing of the agreement, the interim agreement is concluded. The Interim Agreement is part of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, which covers the market and the transport sector and covers market rules. It will take between two and three years as long as the ratification of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU is expected in the European parliaments of the 27 EU Member States. The institutional framework of the SAA provides a mechanism for the implementation, management and monitoring of relations in all areas covered by the SAA. After the entry into force of the SAA, bodies were established.

(continued) The Stabilisation and Association Agreement is of a `mixed` nature, which means that the areas of cooperation are partly the responsibility of the Member States and the European Union. .

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