The EUâ€™s policy towards the countries of the western Balkans takes the form of the stabilisation and association process (SAP) launched in 2000. The SAP seeks to stabilise the region and establish a free-trade area with a view to the countries concerned becoming EU members in the future.
Particular emphasis is placed on regional cooperation, e.g. the development of infrastructures and networks and the establishment of a free trade area. Although the SAP sets out common political and economic goals, each countryâ€™s progress is judged on its own merits.
By means of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (2014-20), funding is provided to strengthen democracy and the rule of law, to develop market economies and as to align SAP countriesâ€™ laws with those of the EU.
Western Balkan countries that acquire candidate country status continue to benefit from the SAP while involved in the accession process.
SAP countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo (*), Montenegro and Serbia.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.
Source:Â EUR Lex Glossary« Back to Glossary Index