Stabilization and association agreements are part of the EU Stabilisation and Association Process (PSA) and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). At present, the countries of the Western Balkans are at the heart of the PSA. Specific Stabilization and Association Agreements (ASAs) have been implemented with various Balkan countries, which contain explicit provisions for the country`s future accession to the EU. The SAAs resemble in principle the European agreements signed in the 1990s with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the association agreement with Turkey. Successive amendments to the agreement were introduced in the original document. This consolidated version is only of documentary value. The agreement with Kosovo was the first to be signed after the Lisbon Treaty came into force, which brought down the EU`s legal personality.   An EU representative in Kosovo stated that “unlike the ASA with other countries in the region, this agreement will be exclusively the EU agreement. The EU will sign them as a legal entity.  The agreement did not have to be ratified individually by each Member State, some of which did not recognize Kosovo`s independence.  The representative added: “Since Kosovo is not recognised by the five Member States, we had to adopt a directive stating that the signing of the agreement will not mean that the EU or any of the countries will recognise Kosovo as a state.”  The decision has been in effect since February 26, 2009 and the agreement since April 1, 2009. Our results indicate that regional integration under the ASA can bring considerable benefits.
This paper examines the economic impact and identifies potential winners and losers of the EU-Albania Stabilization and Association Agreement (ASA). The EU-Albania ASA, signed in June 2006, is part of a wider regional process (stabilisation and association process) and aims to support Albania`s economic transition and strengthen its integration into the EU internal market. Albania`s ASA reform programme is impressive and covers areas ranging from political dialogue and regional cooperation to community freedoms in goods, services, workers and capital, as well as mutual cooperation in the areas of justice and home affairs. It calls for comprehensive trade liberalization with the EU and other countries in the region and provides for essential non-tariff liberalisation through gradual harmonisation with EU structures and directives in the areas of standards, certification, customs administration, competition and intellectual property rights.