The Stabilisation and Association Process

The stabilisation and association process is the framework for EU negotiations with the Western Balkan countries, all the way to their eventual accession. It has three aims:

  • stabilising the countries and encouraging their swift transition to a market economy
  • promoting regional cooperation
  • eventual membership of the EU

The process helps the countries concerned build their capacity to adopt and implement EU law, as well as European and international standards. It is based on an ever-closer partnership, with the EU offering a mixture of:

Each country moves step by step towards EU membership as it fulfills its commitments in the stabilisation and association process, as assessed in annual progress reports.

Countries waiting to join the EU

All the Western Balkan countries have the prospect of joining the EU (an objective most recently endorsed by the June 2005 European Council pdf - 148 KB [148 KB] ).

Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are "candidate countries", and remain part of the stabilisation and association process.

Other potential candidates in the Western Balkans are:


" The Western Balkans on the road to the EU: consolidating stability and raising prosperity" (EU Commission, 2006) assesses progress made since the Thessaloniki Summit in June 2003 and sets out concrete measures to reinforce the EU policy for the Western Balkans.

"Western Balkans: Enhancing the European perspective" (EU Commission, 2008), sets out new initiatives, and develops existing ones, to help the Western Balkans on the road towards EU membership.