European Partnership is one of the instruments which came out of the Thessaloniki Agenda in order to support the reform process in Western Balkan countries and to bring them closer to the EU. Partnership began to be implemented in 2004. This process involves identifying short and midterm priorities which must be addressed by countries aspiring to enter the EU, something which assists them in reforming and preparing for membership. European Partnership has as its goal supporting the attempts of the Western Balkans to achieve the accession criteria for the EU (Copenhagen Criteria). It offers coherent structures of necessary reforms, as well as an accompanying financial framework. The countries included develop plans in the form of a schedule of reforms and details regarding measures which they are expected to undertake to address requests for further integration in the EU.
These Partnerships offer a framework including priorities deriving from an analysis of the condition of each partner, and on what basis more intensive preparations must be made to achieve the criteria defined by the European Commission. European Partnership is reviewed regularly on the basis of progress achieved by each country and new priorities are assigned when necessary. The European Council decides on the principles, priorities and conditions that should be part of European Partnership and accompanying interventions.
The European Partnership Action Plan (EPAP) is the key midterm planning document of the Kosovo Government that aims to define necessary actions for implementing the European agenda and progress in Kosovos integration in the EU, in accordance with priorities identified with European Partnership.
The Priorities of European Partnership are divided into short-term priorities (1-2 years) and mid-term priorities (3-4 years). EPAP includes the following:
- Political Criteria
- Economic Criteria
- European Standards
The content and structure of the plan is represented in the form of a presentation of reforms undertaken with regard to the legal and institutional framework in the short-term and mid-term and in activities planned to address the challenges of the Progress Report in the previous year.