Central European Free Trade Agreement
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As of 1 May 2007, the parties of the CEFTA agreement are: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and UNMIK on behalf of Kosovo. Former parties are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Original CEFTA agreement was signed by Visegrád Group countries, that is by Poland, Hungary and Czech and Slovak republics (this time parts of the Czech and Slovak Federative Republic) on 21 December 1992 in Kraków, Poland. It entered into force since July 1994. Through CEFTA, participating countries hoped to mobilize efforts to integrate 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 1998, Croatia in 2003 and Republic of Macedonia in 2006.
CEFTA 2006 agreement
All of the parties of the original agreement, except Croatia and the Republic of Macedonia, have joined the EU and thus left CEFTA. Therefore it was decided to extend CEFTA to cover the rest of the Balkan states, 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, UNMIK on behalf of Kosovo, Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro was adopted. Accession of Ukraine has also been discussed. The new enlarged agreement was initialled on 9 November 2006 in Brussels and has been signed on 19 December 2006 at the South East European Prime Ministers Summit in Bucharest By early September 2007, all countries except Serbia had ratified the agreement; it had gone into effect in August. BiH ratified on 6 September 2007, and Serbia is expected to ratify it later in September 2007.