A Stabilization and Association Agreement (ASA) between the European Union and Kosovo was signed today in Strasbourg. For the EU, it was signed by Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, while on the Kosovo side it was signed by Prime Minister Isa Mustafa and Minister of European Integration and Chief Negotiator Bekim Ollaku. “This agreement opens a new phase in EU-Kosovo relations. It is an important contribution to stability and prosperity in Kosovo and the region as a whole. I look forward to its entry into force,” High Representative Mogherini said at the signing. “This agreement is an important step in EU-Kosovo relations. It will help Kosovo implement much-needed reforms and create trade and investment opportunities. It will put Kosovo on the path to sustainable economic growth and create much-needed jobs for its citizens, especially young people,” added Commissioner Hahn. The ASA was negotiated between October 2013 and May 2014, signed in July 2014, and the EU Council approved its signature on 22 October 2015. After approval by the European Parliament, the ASA is expected to enter into force in the first half of next year.
Once in force, the ASA will establish a contractual relationship that will involve reciprocal rights and obligations and cover a wide range of sectors. The ASA focuses on respecting the main democratic principles and essential elements that are at the heart of the EU`s internal market. The ASA will create a space for free trade and the application of European standards in other areas such as competition, state aid and intellectual property. It will also contribute to the implementation of reforms aimed at the adoption of European standards by Kosovo. Other provisions concern political dialogue, cooperation in a wide range of areas ranging from education and employment to energy, the environment, justice and home affairs. References to Kosovo do not affect status positions. They are in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the opinion of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo`s declaration of independence. The agreement does not constitute an independent recognition of Kosovo by the EU or by some EU countries.
Stabilization and association agreements are part of the EU Stabilisation and Association Process (PSA) and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). At present, the countries of the Western Balkans are at the heart of the PSA. Specific Stabilization and Association Agreements (ASAs) have been implemented with various Balkan countries, which contain explicit provisions for the country`s future accession to the EU.