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Integrating the Balkans

Regional Ownership and European Responsibilities. C·A·P Working Paper 07/2002

By Dr. Wim van Meurs, Discussion Paper for the Balkan Forum, Berlin, July 15-16, 2002.

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01.07.2002 · Bertelsmann Forschungsgruppe Politik

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Today, regional co-operation in the Balkans and the perspective of EU membership are taking shape. The evolving network of bilateral free-trade agreements and the SEECP political dialogue of the Sofia Process are cases in point for regional commitment. Meanwhile, the EU's 1999 promise to "draw the region closer to the perspective of full integration of these countries into its structures" has become the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP), designed much along the lines of the Europe Agreements for Eastern enlargement in the 1990s.

Whereas the CARDS program provides "pre-association" assistance, the Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAAs) define the criteria, objectives and strategic priorities for each country. The Stability Pact was once designed as a comprehensive strategy bringing together all relevant international organisations and donors for the stabilisation of the region. Now, the Pact is increasingly remoulded along the lines of complementarity and will become an auxiliary to the EU association process for the countries of the region.

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