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Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA)
Native names
  • Marrëveshja e Tregtisë së Lirë të Evropës Qendrore (Albanian)
    Centralnoevropski sporazum o slobodnoj trgovini (Bosnian)

    Централноевропски договор за слободна трговија (Macedonian)
    Acordul Central European al Comerțului Liber (Romanian)
    Централноевропски договор о слободној трговини (Serbian)
Logo of the Central European Free Trade Agreement
Logo
Map of Europe (grey) indicating the members of CEFTA (blue)
Map of Europe (grey) indicating
the members of CEFTA (blue)
CEFTA SecretariatBrussels
Working languageEnglish
Official languages
of contracting states
TypeTrade agreement
Membership
Leaders
• Chair-in-office 2023
 Montenegro
• Acting Director of the CEFTA Secretariat
Danijela Gacevic
• Previous Directors
Emir Djikic Renata Vitez
Establishment
• Agreement signed
21 December 1992
• CEFTA 2006 Agreement signed
19 December 2006
Area
• Total
252,428 km2 (97,463 sq mi)
Population
• 2022 estimate
19,548,563
• Density
85/km2 (220.1/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
• Total
$423.680 billion[1]
• Per capita
$19,000
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
• Total
$153.863 billion
• Per capita
$7,100
Currency
6 currencies
Time zoneUTC+1, UTC+2
• Summer (DST)
UTC+2, UTC+3

The Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) is an international trade agreement between countries mostly located in Southeastern Europe. Founded by representatives of Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, CEFTA in 2006 expanded to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and the UNMIK (on behalf of Kosovo, in accordance with UNSCR 1244).[2]

Members

As of 1 July 2013, the parties of the CEFTA agreement are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and UNMIK (on behalf of Kosovo).

Former parties are Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Their CEFTA memberships ended when they became member states of the European Union (EU).

Parties of agreement Joined    Left    Joined EU
 Poland 21 December 1992 30 April 2004 1 May 2004
 Hungary
 Czech Republic[a]
 Slovakia[a]
 Slovenia 1 January 1996
 Romania 1 January 1997 31 December 2006 1 January 2007
 Bulgaria 1 January 1999
 Croatia 1 January 2003 30 June 2013 1 July 2013
 North Macedonia[b] 1 January 2006
 Albania 1 January 2007
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Moldova
 Montenegro
 Serbia
United Nations UNMIK (on behalf of Kosovo)

Membership criteria

Former Poznań Declaration criteria:

Current criteria since Zagreb meeting in 2005:

Current members

Contracting party Accession Population
Area (km²)
Capital
Albania Albania 1 Jan. 2007 2,793,592 28,748 Tirana 54.338 19,009
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,227,405 51,209 Sarajevo 65.667 18,956
Moldova Moldova 2,603,813 33,843 Chişinău 44.372 17,779
Montenegro Montenegro 622,182 13,812 Podgorica 17.191 27,616
North Macedonia North Macedonia 1 Jan. 2006 1,836,713 25,713 Skopje 43.660 21,103
Serbia Serbia 1 Jan. 2007 6,690,887 77,474 Belgrade 175.318 25,718
United Nations UNMIK (on behalf of Kosovo) 1,773,971 10,887 Pristina 27.185 15,398

History

History of CEFTA members from 1992 to 2013. All of the original members of the trade pact became members of the European Union (EU), and because of such, Southeast European nations, such as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNMIK (on behalf of Kosovo), Montenegro, and Serbia, joined in and carried the CEFTA.
  CEFTA member states
  EU member states

Original agreement

The original CEFTA agreement was signed by the Visegrád Group countries, that is by Poland, Hungary and Czechia and Slovakia (at the time parts of the Czechoslovakia) on 21 December 1992 in Kraków, Poland. It came into force in July 1994. Through CEFTA, participating countries hoped to mobilize efforts to integrate into Western European institutions and through this, to join European political, economic, security and legal systems, thereby consolidating democracy and free-market economics.

The agreement was amended by the agreements signed on 11 September 1995 in Brno and on 4 July 2003 in Bled.

Slovenia joined CEFTA in 1996, Romania in 1997, Bulgaria in 1999, Croatia in 2003 and Macedonia in 2006.

2006 agreement

All of the parties of the original agreement had now joined the EU and thus left CEFTA. Therefore, it was decided to extend CEFTA to cover the rest of the Western Balkans, which already had completed a matrix of bilateral free trade agreements in the framework of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. On 6 April 2006, at the South East Europe Prime Ministers Summit in Bucharest, a joint declaration on expansion of CEFTA to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Serbia, Montenegro and UNMIK (on behalf of Kosovo) was adopted.[4] Accession of Ukraine has also been discussed.[5] The new enlarged agreement was initialled on 9 November 2006 in Brussels and was signed on 19 December 2006 at the South East European Prime Ministers Summit in Bucharest.[6] The agreement went into effect on 26 July 2007 for Albania, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro and Macedonia, on 22 August for Croatia, on 24 October for Serbia, and on 22 November 2007 for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The aim of the agreement was to establish a free trade zone in the region by 31 December 2010.

CEFTA 2006 aims at expanding regional trade in goods and services, creating an attractive environment for investment, and contributing to economic development and cooperation within the Parties. Laying down on the principles of WTO rules and procedures and harmonising its policies with the EU legislation, CEFTA provides an effective instrument for the Parties to accelerate their European integration agenda. Since the establishing, CEFTA has been deepening the areas of cooperation based on the needs of the businesses and strengthening trading relations between the Parties. From achieving the full liberalisation of trade in goods and further liberalisation in trade in services, via reducing trade related costs, harmonising the policies within the Parties based on the EU legislation, to expediting trade between Parties through electronic exchange of information, CEFTA has proven as a framework that ensures transparent trade relations between the Parties that can enable the businesses to improve their capacities for different markets.

Relations with the European Union

All former participating countries had previously signed association agreements with the EU, so in fact CEFTA has served as a preparation for full European Union membership.[citation needed] Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia joined the EU on 1 May 2004, with Bulgaria and Romania following suit on 1 January 2007. Croatia joined the EU on 1 July 2013.

Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, and North Macedonia have been undergoing EU accession talks since 2012, 2014 and 2022.

At the EU's recommendation, the future members prepared for membership by establishing free trade areas.[citation needed] A large proportion of CEFTA foreign trade is with EU countries.[citation needed]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b Until 1 January 1993 part of Czechoslovakia.
  2. ^ Until 2019 named Republic of Macedonia.

References

  1. ^ World economic outlook databases. International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  2. ^ "About Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA)". CEFTA. Retrieved 2023-06-08.
  3. ^ a b Data for 2015. International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database
  4. ^ "Economic Initiative for Kosova - ECIKS, Investment opportunities in Kosovo, Privatization process in Kosovo, investing in Kosovo, Kosovo Business, Kosovo Economy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2006-06-30.
  5. ^ Ukraine, Croatia broaden ties
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2008-04-09.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)