Commission (EC) today (February 22, 2010) adopted a proposal to prolong the exceptional
autonomous trade preferences which the European Union grants to Western
Balkan countries until 2015.
The beneficiaries are participants of the EU Stabilisation and Association process, namely
Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and the customs territory of Kosovo in accordance with UN Resolution 1244/99.
The aim of this proposal is to
ensure that Western Balkan economies continue to benefit from an
unlimited duty free access to the EU market for nearly all products
originating in these countries and territories.
Together with the
bilateral agreements in place, these trade preferences support economic
integration with the EU and hence foster political stability and
economic progress in the entire region.
2000 the European Union established for the first time exceptional
unlimited duty-free access to the EU market for nearly all products
originating in the Stabilisation and Association region. The regime was
then renewed in 2005 and is due to expire on 31 December 2010.
stop of the trade preferences risks having negative consequences on the
overall economic performances of Western Balkans, with repercussions on
their domestic reform processes.
the European Commission proposes to renew the preferential regime until
31 December 2015. The Regulation will be discussed by the Council and European Parliament and it is expected
to enter into force on 1 January 2011.