Yugoslavia and the European Economic Community
From the establishment of the European Economic Community (later expanded into the European Union) in 1957 until the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, thus during the Cold War period, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the only socialist state in Europe which developed close relations with the organisation. Notwithstanding occasional and informal proposals coming from both sides, Yugoslavia never became a full member state of the EEC.
Mutual interactions between the two sides intensified in the late 1980s and early 1990s but all progress was cut off as of 25 November 1991 due to the Wars in Slovenia and Croatia. Prior to the cut off, Yugoslavia was the EEC's second largest trade partner in the Mediterranean area, just after Algeria, with 90% of industrial imports from Yugoslavia to the EEC not subject to any duty.
The former Yugoslav constituent republics of Slovenia (2004) and Croatia (2013) have joined the European Union as independent states, Serbia and Montenegro have been negotiating their accession since 2012 and 2010 respectively, North Macedonia has been a candidate country since 2005, Bosnia and Herzegovina applied in 2016, and partially recognised Kosovo[a] is recognised as a potential candidate for membership within the Western Balkans enlargement agenda of the EU. Numerous politicians, academics, and public persons commented on the alleged missed opportunity of Yugoslav EEC membership, including Stjepan Mesić, Kiro Gligorov, Milorad Dodik, Tvrtko Jakovina, Claudio Gerardini, Vuk Drašković, Vladislav Jovanović, and Cornelius Adebahr.
After the 1948 Tito–Stalin Split, Yugoslavia realigned its foreign policy from the close alliance with the Soviet Union to de facto western orientation, and then neutrality, to ultimately a Non-aligned course. The 1953 Balkan Pact signed by Greece, Turkey, and Yugoslavia allowed Yugoslavia to associate itself with NATO indirectly until 1956 and the end of Informbiro period. In 1950 Yugoslav Radio Television became one of the founding members of the European Broadcasting Union and it canceled its membership in the IBO that same year. In 1962 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the first East European nation for which the Council of the European Economic Community accepted the possibility to start technical talks on cooperation.  The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Yugoslavia held topical meeting on Yugoslav relations with Western European states on February 26, 1964 concluding that those relations are continually improving. During the meeting special attention was given to the Yugoslav relations with West Germany where Ministry commended results in mutual trade, tourist visits and scientific cooperation. On the other hand, the Ministry have criticized German toleration of disruptive activities of post-World War II anti-Yugoslav emigration, campaigns against Koča Popović and postponing of judicial proceeding against the organizers and perpetrators of terrorist attack on Yugoslav representation in Bad Godesberg on November 29, 1962. The Ministry also criticized unwillingness to fulfill obligations and indemnities to the Yugoslav victims of World War II. In 1965 expert negotiations with EEC began as well as talks on extent of future economic cooperation and potential trade exchange.  In 1967 the formal Declaration on the relations between SFR Yugoslavia and the EEC was signed.  In 1969, after the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Permanent Mission of the SFRY to the EEC has been opened. In 1977 the EEC granted access to the European Investment Bank to Yugoslavia. By 1980 European Investment Bank granted two loans in total value of 50 million of ECUs to link the Yugoslav high-voltage electricity distribution network to the Greek and Italian grids and for the construction of part of the trans-Yugoslav road.
In 1978, the European Community and Yugoslavia began negotiations on a Cooperation Agreement, which was signed in April 1980 and entered into force in April 1983. Cooperation Agreement contained provisions concerning trade, financial aid and cooperation in the areas of industry, science and technology, energy, agriculture, transport, the environment and tourism.
On 8 June 1988 Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Budimir Lončar said to the members of collective Presidency of Yugoslavia that there are significant integration processes going on in Europe and single market is created which requires adaptation from Yugoslavia. In late 1989 Yugoslavia initiated signing of the association agreement as at that time close to 70% of Yugoslav foreign trade was done with the EEC countries. French politician Claude Cheysson who was member of the Delors Commission responsible for Mediterranean policy and North-South relations was the strongest advocate of Yugoslav integration with Italian Gianni De Michelis and German Hans Dietrich Genscher not being opposed to the idea. Genscher was of opinion that Yugoslavia may additionally strengthen EEC credibility among the non-NATO member countries, yet official negotiations did not start at that time. In May 1991 EC President Jacques Delors Luxembourg Prime Minister and Jacques Santer offered to sign an association agreement and an agreement on 4.5 billion dollars support for structural reforms, yet at that time the Yugoslav Wars already were in their initial phase. The two biggest constituent republics, Croatia and Serbia, which were dominated by nationalist leaderships refused the proposal. In June 1991 an EEC mission formed by the foreign ministers of Luxembourg, Italy and the Netherlands visited Belgrade, where they talked with Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Marković, as well as Zagreb, where they talked with Presidents Milan Kučan of Slovenia and Franjo Tuđman of Croatia. The mission members stated that almost $1 billion in economic aid would be suspended if Yugoslav military offensive continued as well as that the EEC favors the preservation of Yugoslavia as a single entity. Community's concern was Yugoslav geographic position which just like Switzerland divided northern and southern parts of the Community into two. Members of the EEC were divided over the importance they should give to the potentially contradictory principles of self-determination and territorial integrity. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl strongly stressing the right to self-determination, French President Francois Mitterrand arguing against immediate cutoff of aid to Yugoslavia, while Spain, Italy and United Kingdom insisted on the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia. On 25 November 1991, due to the escalation of hostilities and violations of human rights, all agreements on co-operation between the EEC and SFR Yugoslavia were canceled. Widely perceived EEC's failure in former Yugoslavia, which undermined community's credibility and forced it to ask for United Nations, United States and Russian support, have influenced future development of the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
- Accession of Serbia to the European Union
- Brioni Agreement
- Arbitration Commission of the Peace Conference on Yugoslavia
- 1992 European Community Monitor Mission helicopter downing
- European Union Association Agreement
- 1981 enlargement of the European Communities to neighboring Greece
- 1986 enlargement of the European Communities to Spain and Portugal
Related concepts and events
- European Neighbourhood Policy
- Inner Six
- The Alps-Adriatic Working Group
- Non-Aligned Movement
- Yugoslavia in the Eurovision Song Contest
- 1979 Mediterranean Games
- UEFA Euro 1976
Notes and references
- 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 been recognized as an independent state by 112 out of 193 United Nations member states. 10 states have recognized Kosovo only to later withdraw their recognition.
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- Milutin Tomanović (1965) Hronika međunarodnih događaja 1964, Institute of International Politics and Economics, p254 (in Serbo-Croatian)
- Riding, Alan. "Conflict in Yugoslavia; EUROPEANS SEND HIGH--LEVEL TEAM". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- Nuttall, Simon (August 1994). "The EC and Yugoslavia – Deus ex Machina or Machina sine Deo?". Journal of Common Market Studies. 32: 11–25.
- Zaccaria, B. (2016). The EEC’s Yugoslav Policy in Cold War Europe, 1968-1980. Palgrave Macmillan. London.