The process of stabilization and association of the Republic of Serbia to the European Union was formally launched in 2001. Negotiations on Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) between the European Union and the Republic of Serbia began in November 2005. SAA and the accompanying Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related issues were signed in April 2008. As of 1 February 2009 the Republic of Serbia unilaterally implemented the Interim Trade Agreement, which in December of the same year was unfrozen by the European Union and on 14 June 2010 the Council of Ministers decided to unfreeze the SAA ratification process as well. The European parliament ratified SAA on 19 January 2011, and the ratification process in the European Union member states was completed on 18 June 2013. National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia ratified SAA on 9 September 2008, prior to which the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia adopted the Resolution on association to the European Union on 13 October 2004. SAA came into force on 1 September 2013, whereby the Republic of Serbia acquired the EU associated state. The two most important commitments undertaken by our country by signing SAA related to the introduction of free trade zone and harmonization of the national legislation with the European Union acquis.
On 19 December 2009 visa-free regime with the EU came into force providing the Serbian citizens with the possibility of visa-free travel to 25 European Union countries and to three EU non-member states, which are part of the Schengen area. Serbia was granted the EU candidate state status on 1 March 2012.
The first intergovernmental conference between Republic of Serbia and the European Union, held on 21 January 2014 in Brussels, marked the beginning of accession negotiations on the political level.
In December 2015 the first negotiating chapters were opened – Chapter 32 – Financial control and Chapter 35 – Other issues, dealing with normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Priština.
The screening process was launched on 25 September 2013, in Brussels, when the Chapter 23 screening was held -Judiciary and fundamental rights, and on 24 March 2015 by bilateral screening of the Chapter 33 - Financial and budgetary provisions the overall screening process was completed.
Up to now a total of 16 chapters were opened, while 2 chapters were temporarily closed (by 15 March 2019).