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Our Topics

Labour Market

Labour Law

Occupational safety and health

Research

Initial and continuing training

Social Security

Pensions

Participation of persons with disabilities

International Affairs

Europe

European processes

European social policy

European employment policy

Mobility within the EU

Migration from third countries

Coordination of social rights

EU external relations.

Programmes and Funds

ESF

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund

FEAD

EaSI

International

International organisations

G20

Services

Contact

Publications

Shopping cart

Press

Recent Publications

Press photos

Press photos of the minister

Press photos of the state secretaries

RSS

Visitor Centre

The Ministry

BMAS at a Glance

Political Staff

New Work - New Security

International affairs

Association agreements

Association agreements are international treaties concluded by the European Union and a third country as the basis for a special relationship with each other. The background and the design of these agreements vary.

Countries seeking close cooperation with the EU can conclude a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the European Union. Agreements of this kind are especially common in trade policy. Depending on the design of the agreement, various mutual rights and obligations are conferred on the associate partner.

The EU’s Stabilisation and Association Agreements with third countries have varying priorities. Some promote convergence, in preparation for a potential EU accession at a later date, for example in the case of Turkey, Montenegro and Serbia. Others are intended to support the partners’ economic development, such as in the case of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Still others seek to advance free trade between both sides while at the same time harmonising the partners’ legal order with EU law, for example the agreements to form a European Economic Area concluded with the countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. Agreements can also help to stabilise a conflict-torn region, however.

Association agreements usually also provide for convergence and cooperation in the field of labour and social affairs. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is involved in the design and the subsequent evaluation of the agreements in this area. To date, this has been particularly important regarding the association agreement with Turkey (the Ankara Agreement: 1963) and those with all of the Western Balkan countries (Macedonia: 2004; Albania: 2009; Montenegro: 2010; Bosnia and Herzegovina: 2015; Serbia: 2013; Kosovo: 2016). Agreements of this kind have recently been concluded with three Eastern Partnership countries (Ukraine, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova).

International affairs