The European Parliament gave its consent to the EU-Kosovo Stabilisation and Association agreement, an important first formal step in Kosovo’s integration into Europe, on Thursday. The deal will form the backbone of strengthened political association and economic integration between the EU and Kosovo.
MEPs backed the agreement by 486 votes to 102, with 81 abstentions.
“This is very good news and another important step on Kosovo's path towards EU integration. For the first time, the EU and Kosovo will enter into a contractual agreement”, said rapporteur Ulrike Lunacek (Greens, AT).
“Now the agreement has to enter into force without delay. This will give a major positive signal to Kosovo's citizens and economy. Implementing the agreement will help institutionalise the reform process. It will also bring new possibilities for Kosovo to strengthen relations with the EU and thus contribute to the stabilisation of the whole region”, she added.
The agreement enhances EU-Kosovo political dialogue, trade relations and fosters closer cooperation in many sectors, including energy, the environment, and justice and home affairs.
It also has provisions aiming to promote EU standards in areas such as competition, procurement, intellectual property, consumer protection and good governance.
Parliament’s consent paves the way for the Council of Ministers to formally conclude this agreement and enable its entry into force in a few months’ time.
All the matters dealt with in this agreement fall within the EU sphere of competence. This makes it an “EU-only” agreement, i.e. one that does not need to be ratified by individual EU member states.
Kosovo has enjoyed a preferential trade regime with the EU since 2000
The Stabilisation and Association Agreement lays down essentially the same regime - providing unrestricted access for industrialised products and most farm produce