The European Union will continue to support Kosovo`s progress on the European path through the stabilisation and association process, the policies developed by the EU to promote cooperation with the Countries of the Western Balkans and regional cooperation. Stabilization and association agreements are at the heart of this process. To support the necessary reforms, the EU is providing countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey with pre-accession aid of around EUR 11.7 billion for the period 2014-2020, of which EUR 645.5 million will be allocated to Kosovo. The agreement with Kosovo was the first to be signed after the Lisbon Treaty came into force, which brought down the EU`s legal personality.   An EU representative in Kosovo stated that «unlike the ASA with other countries in the region, this agreement will be exclusively the EU agreement. The EU will sign them as a legal entity.  The agreement did not have to be ratified individually by each Member State, some of which did not recognize Kosovo`s independence.  The representative added: «Since Kosovo is not recognised by the five Member States, we had to adopt 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.»  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 the Minister for 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. The CSA is assisted in the performance of its tasks by a stabilization and association committee. 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.