Accession of Serbia to the European Union
|Serbian EU accession bid|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
On 7 November 2007, Serbia initiated a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union. This was a milestone in Serbia's accession negotiations and was executed following the advice of chief war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who advised the EU that the country was complying with the tribunal but stipulated that Ratko Mladić must be in The Hague prior to any official signing. Mladić was subsequently arrested on 26 May 2011 and was extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to stand trial. On 20 July 2011, Goran Hadžić became the last indicted fugitive to be arrested. After setbacks in the political field, on 7 December 2009 the EU unfroze the trade agreement with Serbia and the Schengen countries dropped the visa requirement for Serbian citizens on 19 December 2009.
Serbia officially applied for European Union membership on 22 December 2009, and the European Commission recommended making it an official candidate on 12 October 2011. After the Council's recommendation of 28 February 2012, Serbia received full candidate status on 1 March. On 28 June 2013 the European Council endorsed the Council of Ministers conclusions and recommendations to open accession negotiations with Serbia. In December 2013 the Council of the European Union approved opening negotiations on Serbia's accession in January 2014, and the first Intergovernmental Conference was held on 21 January at the European Council in Brussels.
- 1 Serbian government stance
- 2 Dispute in the government in 2008
- 3 European Union stance
- 4 Negotiations
- 5 Negotiation progress
- 6 Stabilisation and Association Agreement
- 7 Visa liberalisation process
- 8 Public opinion
- 9 Key events in Serbia accession to EU
- 10 Impact of Joining
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Serbian government stance
The government originally set a goal for EU accession by 2014, as per the Papandreou plan - Agenda 2014. Presenting his key-note address before the Serbian Parliament in April 2014, the Prime Minister-Designate Aleksandar Vucic said that the negotiations with the European Union continue in good faith that until the end of the mandate of his Government they will be finished. He also said that this process will be a priority and that "if we work hard, I believe that Serbia could become a full member of the European Union by the end of the decade". During the visit of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton to Belgrade he assessed that there is a chance for Serbia to become a full member of the EU by 2020 and reiterated that that is the goal to be reached for the sake of our country and internal reforms, which should be completed by 2018.
The Serbian government has declared that the status of the Kosovo region should not be tied with the EU negotiations. As of September 2012, the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Štefan Füle, has denied that the European Union will insist on Serbia's recognition of Kosovo before it can join the organisation.
Dispute in the government in 2008
Deputy Prime Minister Božidar Đelić signed the Stabilisation and Association Agreement on 29 April 2008. Vojislav Koštunica, Serbian Prime Minister at the time, said on 1 May that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was right when he said that the SAA should have been signed. But one day later, on 2 May 2008, he vowed to annul the agreement after the election, calling it “a trick”, “Solana's agreement” and “the Tadić-Đelić SAA signature”. After the Serbian parliamentary election, 2008, a new parliamentary majority and government was formed and the SAA opposition was left without political power. The new Serbian Prime Minister, Mirko Cvetković, announced “One of the first moves of the new government will be to submit the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union to the parliament for ratification.” As of January 2009 the Serbian government has started to implement its obligations under the agreement unilaterally. The effects remain to be evaluated by the European Commission.
According to a survey by the Centre for Free Elections and Democracy, as of November 2009[update], support for accession among Serbians was 71 percent. However, that support has rapidly dropped, falling to around 60% in late 2010 and 58% in December 2014.
European Union stance
An earlier obstacle for Serbia's access to the EU was their cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), however this has been overcome since all the indicted, the last of which were Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić, have been extradited to the ICTY. Ratko Mladić was arrested on 26 May 2011 and Goran Hadžić on 20 July 2011.
The Netherlands was at first a strong opponent of Serbia's signing and ratification of the SAA. The Dutch government stated that it would not ratify the SAA in until Ratko Mladić is in ICTY custody. On 15 September 2008, the Netherlands froze the trade-related part of the SAA with Serbia. However, the Netherlands now actively supports Serbia’s efforts to join the EU and the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Serbia was ratified by the Netherlands in 2012. The Netherlands also highlight the importance of normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina and carrying out reforms vital for EU membership.
During her visit to Serbia the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton stated that Serbia "can be example to others in region" and that the country "can show them what can be achieved through hard work and leadership." She also stressed then that Serbia has always been a part of Europe and that Serbia is an important political partner of the EU which is proved by the results that have been achieved in the normalisation of the relations with Priština.
Serbia and the EU were at odds over implementation of the EU's EULEX mission to Kosovo. The EU wants to implement its mission in Kosovo according to Martti Ahtisaari's Kosovo status proposal, but Serbia wants EULEX to be first approved by the UN Security Council in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. This has subsequently occurred after the UN Chancellor and Serbian government have reached a 5-point plan, after which the UNSC has approved the EULEX mission, which functioned under the mandate of the UNMIK. On 19 May 2011, during his official visit to Serbia, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, said that recognition of Kosovo is not a pre-condition for Serbian EU accession. Enver Hoxhaj, Kosovo's Minister of Foreign Affairs, has suggested that the EU should approve the accession of Kosovo and Serbia simultaneously due to concerns that if Serbia was admitted first they could veto Kosovo's membership.
The European Union has been considering enlargement in the Balkans since at least the late 1990s. The negotiations became serious after Serbia began the reform process after the fall of the Milošević government in 2000, back then as part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (with Montenegro) when the EU officially declared that the Balkan states are potential candidates for membership, confirmed in 2003. Negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement started in November 2005.
On 3 May 2006, the European Union suspended SAA talks with Serbia over its failure to arrest Ratko Mladić, stating that Serbia failed to fulfill its commitment to fully co-operate with International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. This slowed the pace of Serbia's EU entry and the reform process in Serbia. In July 2006, an action plan for the arrest of Ratko Mladić was issued by the government which was expected to improve relations with EU. In May 2007, Serbian parties reached an agreement on a new government, and placed President Boris Tadić as head of the newly created National Security Council. Within weeks of the Council's establishment, Serbian officials made two key arrests of indicted war criminals. As a result, on 13 June 2007, the European Union decided to reopen negotiations. On 21 July 2008, Radovan Karadžić was arrested. On 26 May 2011 Mladić was arrested.
On 8 November 2007, Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Božidar Đelić and the European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn initialed in Brussels the Stabilisation and Association Agreement between Serbia and the European Union. Olli Rehn said that the EU decision to initial the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Serbia was the result of improved cooperation with the ICTY, as reported by the chief prosecutor of this Tribunal, Carla Del Ponte.
Rehn underlined that full cooperation of Belgrade with the ICTY remains a precondition for signing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, which was initialed two years after the launching of the first negotiation round. On 16 January 2008 the Netherlands and Belgium confirmed that their countries would not sign the SAA (signatures are needed from all EU member states) until Serbia complied fully with the ICTY. On 14 January 2008 ICTY prosecutor Serge Brammertz stated that there was no change and Serbia was still not fully cooperating.
Following this agreement, the EU planned to grant candidate status to Serbia as early as 2009, contingent on its full cooperation with the Hague tribunal. The European Commission (EC) recommended making it an official candidate on 12 October 2011. On 28 February 2012, the Council of the European Union issued a candidate status recommendation, and Serbia received a full candidate status on 1 March. In December 2012, the Council launched the accession process with a view to open negotiations in June 2013, provided that political conditions regarding cooperation with Kosovo were met. Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement, said that a progress report on the opening of negotiations would be published by the EC in the spring of 2013.
On 19 April 2013, the governments of Kosovo and Serbia completed the Brussels Agreement, which was hailed as a major step towards normalising relations, enabling the start of EU entry talks with Serbia. On June 28, 2013 the European Council endorsed the Council of Ministers conclusions and recommendations to open accession negotiations with Serbia, and announced that they would commence by January 2014 at the latest. The following day, the Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Vincent Degert, stated that the screening of the acquis had commenced. Screening of the acquis started on 25 September 2013.
In December 2013 the Council of the European Union approved opening negotiations on Serbia's accession in January 2014, and the European Council endorsed the start of negotiations several days later. The first Intergovernmental Conference was held on 21 January at the European Council in Brussels. Serbia was represented by Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and his first deputy Aleksandar Vučić, while the EU was represented by their Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece Evangelos Venizelos.
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|Acquis chapter||EC assessment at start||EC Assessment in 2015||EC Assessment in 2016||Screening started||Screening completed||Chapter opened||Chapter closed|
|1. Free Movement of Goods||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-06-17||2014-09-12||–||–|
|2. Freedom of Movement For Workers||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-01-23||2014-03-25||–||–|
|3. Right of Establishment & Freedom To Provide Services||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-01-30||2014-03-13||–||–|
|4. Free Movement of Capital||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-10-13||2014-12-15||–||–|
|5. Public Procurement||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-03-21||2014-05-13||2016-12-13||–|
|6. Company Law||No major difficulties expected||Good level of preparation||Good level of preparation||2014-12-11||2015-02-05||December 2017 ||–|
|7. Intellectual Property Law||Further efforts needed||Good level of preparation||Good level of preparation||2014-09-24||2014-11-13||2017-06-20||–|
|8. Competition Policy||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-03-31||2014-11-05||–||–|
|9. Financial Services||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2015-01-21||2015-03-17||–||–|
|10. Information Society & Media||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-05-22||2014-07-02||–|
|11. Agriculture & Rural Development||Considerable efforts needed||Early stage||Some level of preparation||2014-03-18||2014-09-16||–||–|
|12. Food Safety, Veterinary & Phytosanitary Policy||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-02-03||2014-10-24||–||–|
|13. Fisheries||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-09-30||2014-11-14||–||–|
|14. Transport Policy||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Good level of preparation||2014-12-16||2015-02-27||–||–|
|15. Energy||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-04-29||2014-06-12||–||–|
|16. Taxation||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-10-14||2015-03-06||–||–|
|17. Economic & Monetary Policy||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-12-02||2015-03-12||–||–|
|18. Statistics||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-05-20||2014-11-26||–||–|
|19. Social Policy & Employment||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-02-10||2014-06-26||–||–|
|20. Enterprise & Industrial Policy||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-04-03||2014-07-02||2017-02-27||–|
|21. Trans-European Networks||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-04-29||2015-02-27||–||–|
|22. Regional Policy & Coordination of Structural Instruments||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-10-01||2015-01-29||–||–|
|23. Judiciary & Fundamental Rights||Considerable efforts needed||Some level of preparation||Some level of preparation||2013-09-25||2013-12-10||2016-07-18||–|
|24. Justice, Freedom & Security||Considerable efforts needed||Some level of preparation||Some level of preparation||2013-10-02||2013-12-13||2016-07-18||–|
|25. Science & Research||No major difficulties expected||Good level of preparation||Good level of preparation||2014-10-06||2014-12-01||2016-12-13||2016-12-13|
|26. Education & Culture||No major difficulties expected||Good level of preparation||Good level of preparation||2014-02-20||2014-04-04||2017-02-27||2017-02-27|
|27. Environment||Totally incompatible with acquis||Early stage||Some level of preparation||2014-09-15||2014-11-21||–||–|
|28. Consumer & Health Protection||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-12-04||2015-02-04||–||–|
|29. Customs Union||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Good level of preparation||2014-03-26||2014-06-04||2017-06-20||–|
|30. External Relations||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-07-02||2014-10-09||December 2017||–|
|31. Foreign, Security & Defence Policy||No major difficulties expected||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2014-07-15||2014-10-10||–||–|
|32. Financial Control||Considerable efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Moderately prepared||2013-10-17||2013-11-26||2015-12-14||–|
|33. Financial & Budgetary Provisions||No major difficulties expected||Early stage||Early stage||2015-01-27||2015-03-24||December 2017 ||–|
|34. Institutions||Nothing to adopt||Nothing to adopt||Nothing to adopt||–||–||–||–|
|35. Other Issues: Relations with Kosovo*||Further efforts needed||Moderately prepared||Limited Progress||2014-01-22||2015-03-25||2015-12-14||–|
|Progress||34 out of 34||34 out of 34||10 out of 34||2 out of 34|
Stabilisation and Association Agreement
Kosovo's provisional government unilaterally declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008. This was followed by most EU countries recognising Kosovo as an independent country. These events heavily influenced the Serbian political landscape. The central topic on which the coalition partners diverged was Serbia's EU accession.
On 7 November 2007, Serbia initialed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union, agreeing on the final version of the text to which no or little changes are to be made. This was the step immediately preceding the official signing that was expected to take place in 2008 and was a milestone in Serbia's accession negotiations. It was executed following the advice of chief war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, who advised the EU that the country was complying adequately with the tribunal but Ratko Mladić must be in The Hague prior to any official signing being able to take place. Mladić was subsequently arrested on 26 May 2011, and has since been extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to stand trial. On 20 July, Goran Hadžić became the last indicted fugitive to be arrested.
On 4 April 2008, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica, supported by Velimir Ilić, Minister of Infrastructure, stated that EU membership was no longer on the agenda for Serbia. Koštunica said that before EU accession continuation Serbia and the EU must discuss the matter of borders and Serbia's territorial integrity. He said that Serbia must by no means sign the Stabilisation and Association Agreement and referred to the agreement as “Solana's agreement”.
At the same time President Boris Tadić said that the Vienna Convention allows him to sign the agreement and that he will sign it if it is offered. Božidar Đelić, Deputy Prime Minister, had previously been authorised by the Government to sign the agreement and was still willing to do so, which he did on 29 April 2008. The ceremony in Luxembourg was attended by President Boris Tadić and Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić.
On 1 May Koštunica said that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was right when he said that the SAA should have been signed but one day later on 2 May 2008 he vowed to annul the agreement after the election, calling it “a trick”, “Solana's agreement” and “the Tadić-Đelić SAA signature”.
After the Serbian parliamentary election of 2008, a new parliamentary majority and government was formed, and the SAA opposition was left without political power. The new Serbian Prime Minister, Mirko Cvetković, announced "One of the first moves of the new government will be to submit the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union to the parliament for ratification" and on 9 September 2008 the Parliament of Serbia ratified the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU. The European Commission (EC) subsequently welcomed the ratification of the agreement.
On 15 September 2008, the Netherlands froze the trade related part of a pre-accession deal (SAA) with Serbia.
After setbacks in the political field, on 7 December 2009 the EU unfroze the trade agreement with Serbia and the Schengen countries dropped the visa requirement for Serbian citizens on 19 December 2009.
By August 2012, all EU member states except Lithuania had ratified Serbia's SAA agreement. Danas has reported that the delay was in part due to the election of Vuk Jeremić, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, as President of the United Nations General Assembly in June 2012 ahead of Dalius Čekuolis, Lithuania's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. The cancellation of a deal by a Lithuanian company to privatise the Serbian brewery Beogradska Industrija Piva has also been suggested as a major impediment to agreement's ratification.
In March 2013, Serbia's Assistant Foreign Minister Ljubica Vasić reported that the Lithuanian parliament planned to debate the ratification of Serbia's SAA in their spring session. Linas Linkevičius, Lithuania's Minister of Foreign Affairs, acknowledged the tense relations between the two countries, but said that ratification of the SAA was “underway” and that “Our government has already given its consent. It is parliament's turn now. I have spoken personally with leaders in parliament and they are planning on putting the issue on the agenda in accordance with the rules of procedure. They are not planning on artificially stopping the process.” Following a meeting with Lithuania's Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius in April 2013, Dačić stated that he expected the agreement to be ratified as soon as possible, and that the issues which had prevented ratification should be put behind the two countries. The Lithuanian Seimas subsequently ratified the SAA on 18 June 2013, and the agreement entered into force on 1 September 2013.
Summary of ratification process
|Event||Macedonia ||Croatia ||Albania ||Montenegro [Note 1]||Bosnia and
|Serbia [Note 2]||Kosovo* [Note 3]|
|SAA negotiations start||2000-04-05||2000-11-24||2003-01-31||2005-10-10||2005-11-25||2005-10-10||2013-10-28|
|EC ratification||2001-04-27||2002-01-30||2006-06-12||2007-10-15||2008-06-16||2009-12-08||N/A [Note 4]|
|SAP state ratification||2001-04-27||2002-01-30||2006-10-09||2007-11-14||2008-06-20||2008-09-22||N/A [Note 4]|
|entry into force||2001-06-01||2002-03-01||2006-12-01||2008-01-01||2008-07-01||2010-02-01||N/A [Note 4]|
|Deposit of the instrument of ratification:|
|Bulgaria||entered the EU later||2008-05-30||2009-03-13||2010-08-12||N/A|
|Croatia||entered the EU later||N/A|
|Cyprus||entered the EU later||2008-05-30||2008-11-20||2009-07-02||2010-11-26||N/A|
|Czech Republic||entered the EU later||2008-05-07||2009-02-19||2009-07-23||2011-01-28||N/A|
|Estonia||entered the EU later||2007-10-17||2007-11-22||2008-09-11||2010-08-19||N/A|
|Hungary||entered the EU later||2007-04-23||2008-05-14||2008-10-22||2010-11-16||N/A|
|Latvia||entered the EU later||2006-12-19||2008-10-17||2009-11-12||2011-05-30||N/A|
|Lithuania||entered the EU later||2007-05-17||2009-03-04||2009-05-04||2013-06-26||N/A|
|Malta||entered the EU later||2008-04-21||2008-12-11||2010-01-07||2010-07-06||N/A|
|Poland||entered the EU later||2007-04-14||2009-02-06||2010-04-07||2012-01-13||N/A|
|Romania||entered the EU later||2009-01-15||2010-01-08||2012-05-22||N/A|
|Slovakia||entered the EU later||2007-07-20||2008-07-29||2009-03-17||2010-11-11||N/A|
|Slovenia||entered the EU later||2007-01-18||2008-02-07||2009-03-10||2010-12-07||N/A|
|European Communities or
European Union and Euratom
|2004-02-25||2004-12-21||2009-02-26||2010-03-29||2015-04-30||2013-07-22||2016-02-24 [Note 5]|
|SAA entry into force||2004-04-01||2005-02-01||2009-04-01||2010-05-01||2015-06-01||2013-09-01||2016-04-01|
|EU membership (SAA lapsed)||(?)||2013-07-01||(?)||(?)||(?)||(?)||(?)|
(brackets): earliest possible date
N/A: Not applicable.
- Montenegro started negotiations in November 2005 while a part of Serbia and Montenegro (SiM). Separate technical negotiations were conducted regarding issues of sub-state organizational competency. A mandate for direct negotiations with Montenegro was established in July 2006. Direct negotiations were initiated on 26 September 2006 and concluded on 1 December 2006.
- Serbia started negotiations in November 2005 while part of SiM, with a modified mandate from July 2006.
- Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 111 out of 193 United Nations member states. The European Union remains divided on its policy towards Kosovo, with five EU member states not recognizing its independence. The EU launched a Stabilisation Tracking Mechanism for Kosovo on 6 November 2002 with the aim of aligning its policy with EU standards. On 10 October 2012 the European Commission found that there were no legal obstacles to Kosovo signing a SAA with the EU, as independence is not required for such an agreement.
- No Interim Agreement associated with Kosovo's SAA was concluded.
- Kosovo's SAA was the first signed after the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty, which conferred a legal personality to the EU. As a result, unlike previous SAAs Kosovo's is exclusively between it and the EU and Euratom, and the member states are not parties independently.
Visa liberalisation process
On 1 January 2008 the visa facilitation and readmission agreements between Serbia and the EU entered into force. Serbia received a road map from the EU for visa liberalisation on 7 May 2008 and was added to the list of visa exempt nationals on 19 December 2009, allowing their citizens to enter the Schengen Area, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania without a visa when traveling with biometric passports.
Serbian government's Office for EU Integration data
|December 2003||Join EU?||72%||%||%|
|June 2008||Join EU?||67%||12%||21%|
|October 2008||Join EU?||65%||%||%|
|December 2009||Join EU?||65%||%||%|
|June 2010||Join EU?||65%||%||%|
|November 2010||Join EU?||63%||%||%|
|December 2010||Join EU?||57%||18%||20%|
|May 2011||Join EU?||55%||%||%|
|June 2011||Join EU?||53%||24%||23%|
|October 2011||Join EU?||46%||37%||17%|
|January 2012||Join EU?||51%||28%||21%|
|2006||Gallup Balkan Monitor||Join EU?||61%||%||%|
|October 2008||Strategic Marketing||Join EU?||61%||%||%|
|November 2010||Gallup Balkan Monitor||Join EU?||44%||%||%|
|March 2012||B92/Ipsos Strategic Marketing||Join EU?||49%||34%||5%|
|July 2013||Ipsos Strategic Marketing||Join EU?||53%||%||%|
|December 2014||EU Delegation to Serbia||Join EU?||57%||28%||15%|
|December 2014||Eurobarometer||Join EU?||58%||26%||16%|
Key events in Serbia accession to EU
- 1998: Regional Approach. The EU Council of Ministers establishes political and economic conditionality for the development of bilateral relations.
- 1999: The EU proposes the new Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) for five countries of Southeastern Europe, including Serbia.
- 2000 Oct-5: Overthrow of Slobodan Milošević.
- 2000 Nov: Serbia to benefit from Autonomous Trade Preferences from the EU.
- 2001: First year of the new CARDS programme specifically designed for the SAP countries.
- 2001 Jun: Feira European Council states that all the SAP countries are "potential candidates" for EU membership.
- 2001 Jul: Start of the EU-FRY Consultative Task Force.
- 2002 Mar: Signature of the Belgrade Agreement on a State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.
- 2003 Jun: At Thessaloniki Summit, the SAP is confirmed as the EU policy for the Western Balkans. The EU perspective for these countries is confirmed.
- 2003 Jul: EU Enhanced Permanent Dialogue with Serbia and Montenegro replaces the format of the Consultative Task Force
- 2004 Jun: Council decision on the European Partnership for Serbia and Montenegro, updated in January 2006.
- 2004 Oct: Council conclusions open up a process for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement.
- 2005 Oct: Negotiations for a Stabilisation and Association Agreement are launched.
- 2006-May-3: SAA negotiations called off due to lack of progress on cooperation with the ICTY.
- 2006-May-21: Montenegro declares independence.
- 2006-Jun-15: The Government of Serbia officially recognises Montenegro as an independent state.
- 2006 Jun: Following the declaration of independence of Montenegro, Serbia becomes the legal successor to the State Union.
- 2006 Oct: Parliament of Serbia adopts a new Constitution, which is confirmed by referendum.
- 2007-June-13: SAA negotiations with Serbia resumed, following a clear commitment by the country to achieve full cooperation with the ICTY.
- 2007-Nov-01: Serbia's SAA is initialed.
- 2008-Jan-01: Entry into force of the Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreement between Serbia and the EU.
- 2008-Feb-17: Assembly of Kosovo declares independence.
- 2008-Feb-18: Council of the EU - Decision on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the European Partnership with Serbia including Kosovo.
- 2008-Apr-29: Serbia's SAA and Interim Agreement (IA) are signed in Luxembourg.
- 2008-May-07: Commissioner Barrot hands over the Road Map on Visa Liberalisation, set up with the aim of achieving a visa-free regime for Serbian citizens wishing to travel to Schengen countries.
- 2008-July-21: War crime indictee Radovan Karadžić is arrested.
- 2008-Sep-09: SAA and IA ratified by National Assembly of Serbia.
- 2008-Sep-15: Netherlands freezes SAA and trade part of SAA.
- 2008-Oct-16: Serbian government unilaterally decided to begin with implementation of trade part of Interim Trade agreement with EU starting 1 January 2009.
- 2009-Jan-01: Serbia implements Interim Trade Agreement with the EU.
- 2009-Nov-30: European Commission decides to put Serbia on White Schengen list.
- 2009-Dec-07: European Commission decides to implement Interim Trade agreement with Serbia.
- 2009-Dec-19: Visa-free regime for Serbia is put into force.
- 2009-Dec-22: Serbia officially applies for membership in the European Union.
- 2010-Feb-01: Interim agreement entry into force.
- 2010-Jun-14: European Commission decides to start ratification of SAA.
- 2010-Oct-25: Council of the EU forwards Serbia's application for EU membership to the European commission.
- 2010-Nov-24: European Commission presents Legislative questionnaire to applicant; the questionnaire contains 2,483 questions and subquestions.
- 2011-Jan-19: European Parliament ratifies Serbia's SAA.
- 2011-Jan-31: Serbia responds to EU questionnaire.
- 2011-May-26: War fugitive Ratko Mladić arrested in Lazarevo in Northern Serbia.
- 2011-May-31: Former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladić is extradited to the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.
- 2011-July-20: War fugitive Goran Hadžić, the last fugitive indicted by the ICTY, is arrested, signaling the final hurdle to Serbia's candidate status.
- 2011-July-22: Former Croatian Serbs army chief Goran Hadžić is extradited to the UN's International Criminal Tribunal.
- 2011-Oct-12: European Commission has recommended that Serbia should be granted an official EU candidate status.
- 2012-Mar-01: European Council grants Serbia official candidate status for EU membership.
- 2013-Apr-22: European Commission has recommended that a target date for the beginning of accession negotiations with Serbia should be determined.
- 2013-Jun-28: European Council endorsed the Council of Ministers recommendation to open accession negotiations with Serbia, and announced that they would commence by January 2014 at the latest.
- 2013-Sep-01: SAA entered into force.
- 2013-Sep-03: Tanja Miščević appointed chief negotiator with the EU.
- 2013-Sep-25: Screening of the acquis started.
- 2013-Dec-17: Council approves starting negotiations in January 2014.
- 2013-Dec-20: European Council endorses the start of negotiations.
- 2014-Jan-21: Membership negotiations started.
- 2015-Mar-25: All EU acquis screenings are completed.
- 2015-Oct-13: EC, EEAS recommend opening of accession chapters for Serbia 
- 2015-Dec-3: EP rapporteur recommends opening chapters by end of 2015.
- 2015-Dec-14: Two chapters are opened.
- 2016-Jul-18: Two chapters are opened.
- 2016-Dec-13: Two chapters are opened and one chapter is closed.
- 2017-Feb-27: Two chapters are opened and one chapter is closed.
- 2017-Jun-20: Two chapters are opened.
Impact of Joining
|Member countries||Population||Area (km²)||GDP
per capita (US$)
- Serbia, EU initial SAA (SETimes.com)
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