Stabilisation and Association Agreement
The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) is an international treaty, which entered into force on 1 September 2013, thus granting the Republic of Serbia the status of an associated country to the European Union.The two most significant commitments that our country has taken over with the signing of this Agreement are to establish a free trade zone and align domestic legislation with the EU. SAA negotiations between the EU and Serbia began in November 2005 and this Agreement, as the accompanying Interim Association Agreement on Trade and Trade-Related Matters, were signed over the course of April 2008.The Foreign Affairs Council, comprised of ministers of European Union Member States, issued a decision on the ratification of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia on 14 June 2010. The European Parliament ratified the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia on 19 January 2011, while the ratification process in the Member States of the European Union concluded on 18 June 2013 after Lithuania’s ratification.
What are the benefits of the SAA for Serbia?
- The SAA was one of the necessary steps towards the abolition of visas for Serbian citizens because every country that wishes to be on the “White Schengen List” must have such an agreement ratified.
- Greater product safety and consumer protection are the prerequisite to avoid serious consequences for the health of the population.Serbia regularly receives information about unsafe products withdrawn from the EU market through the RAPEX system.
- Lower product prices and substantially more choices due to trade liberalisation with the EU. Before signing the SAA, trade between the EU and Serbia was regulated through Autonomous Trade Measures, i.e. a unilateral declaration by the EU that the Union could amend at any time.SAA poses a contractual commitment for both Serbia and the EU and any eventual changes are made by consensus of both sides. Serbia and Serbian producers have been given access to a market of 490 million.This has resulted in a constant increase in exports from Serbia and a reduction in the trade deficit in trade with the EU.
- Giving a clear signal to investors about the stability of the situation in the country − alignment of national legislation with EU law, conditions for investment and business are becoming recognisable and predictable to foreign investors.
- The signing of the SAA is a necessary step towards acquiring the status of candidate for membership, thus creating conditions for opening the remaining 3 components of the IPA pre-accession fund (rural development, regional development and human resources development), as well as opportunities for the use of significantly larger EU funds.
- SAA is a legal basis for the improvement of cooperation between Serbia and the EU in a number of areas:economic and commercial policy, statistics, banking, insurance and financial services, auditing and financial control, promotion and protection of investments, industrial cooperation, small and medium-sized enterprises, tourism, agriculture and agro-industrial sector, fishery, customs, taxation, social cooperation, education and training, cultural cooperation, collaboration in the audiovisual field, information society, electronic communications networks and services, information and communications, transport, energy, nuclear safety, environment, research and technological development, regional and local development and public administration.