The European Council in Feira in June 2000 confirmed that
“its objective remains the fullest possible integration of the countries of the Western Balkans region into the political and economic mainstream of Europe through theStabilisation and Association process, political dialogue, liberalisation of trade and cooperation in Justice and Home Affairs. All the countries concerned are potentialcandidates for EU membership”.
In view of the EU-Western Balkan Thessaloniki Summit in June 2003, the GeneralAffairs and External Relations Council adopted “The Thessaloniki agenda for theWestern Balkans: moving towards European integration”
. The Thessaloniki agendastrengthened the Stabilisation and Association process by introducing new instruments tosupport the countries’ reform and European integration efforts, including EuropeanPartnerships. This agenda was endorsed by the European Council and by the countries of the Western Balkans in June 2003.In June 2005, the European Council reiterated that:
“… each country’s progress towards European integration, taking account of theevolution of the acquis, depends on its efforts to comply with the Copenhagen criteriaand the conditionality of the Stabilisation and Association process. Moreover, in this process, regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations will remain essentialelements of EU policy.”
The structure of the report is largely the same as that used in previous years and assessesthe implementation of the Stabilisation and Association process. The report:– describes the relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Union;– analyses the political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in terms of democracy, therule of law, respect for human rights and the protection of minorities;– assesses the economic situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in terms of economicdevelopments and progress towards economic stability and competitiveness;– reviews Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capacity to implement European standards, that is,to gradually make legislation in key policy areas more compatible with Europeanlegislation and standards;– examines the extent to which Bosnia and Herzegovina has addressed the EuropeanPartnership priorities.This report takes into consideration progress since the 2004 report. It covers the periodfrom March 2004 to 30 September 2005. It looks at whether planned reforms referred toin the 2004 annual report have been carried out and examines new initiatives, as well asassessing the overall level of implementation.
Conclusions of the General Affairs and External Relations Council, 16 June 2003.