2023 could be a crucial year and mark the end of the negotiations between the European Union and the Republic of San Marino aimed at signing the Association Agreement. Such negotiations were started by San Marino in 2015 but it suffered various setbacks over time, the last of which was in 2020 due to the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. But now all stars seem to be aligned, allowing for the finalisation of a deal that would be strategic for both sides. On the EU side, it is necessary to “bring together” the many pieces of the European family, even the smaller ones (in addition to San Marino also the Principality of Monaco and the Principality of Andorra, ed.) to reaffirm the strength of the values of freedom throughout the continental bloc, especially in this particular geopolitical moment. On the other hand, San Marino intends to benefit from all the burdens and honours that membership of the Union entails, for its citizens and for its companies.
This was explained yesterday by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of San Marino, Luca Beccari, who met with the diplomatic representatives of the EU member countries accredited to the Republic, at the San Marino Embassy in Rome, to illustrate the progress of the ongoing negotiations for the finalisation of the Association Agreement with the European Union. “It is imperative for us to be part of the European family,” explained Antonella Benedettini, San Marino’s ambassador to the EU. And Beccari went on to elaborate on the reasons, while interviewed by The Watcher Post: “We are not in the situation of a distant third state that has problems with visas and duties, we are a third state in the enclave of the Union’s territory. That means having limitations in economic development and trade relations, which is why we hope that the Association Agreement will be finalised, as it will change our target market”.
The citizens of San Marino, who at the last elections in 2019 supported the current establishment by a majority, also because of its pro-European orientation, hope that they will soon be able to access the benefits that would derive from the agreement, including the possibility of working in the member countries, joining training and study programmes without bureaucratic obstacles.
Not to mention the companies: “They will be able to sell not only goods and products, as they already do, but also to offer a free provision of services, participate in European public tenders, and in projects in the public and private business spheres,” Beccari went on to say. “Products will comply with EU quality standard characteristics, which will increase the competitiveness of our country, the transport of goods and people will be standardised, and bureaucratic obstacles that currently limit the activities of our citizens will be resolved.” In short, new opportunities will open up.
It is anticipated that the parties will agree on a conclusion of the agreement by the end of this year. Many of the initial gaps have been bridged. Negotiations on the technical part should be completed by June and the political and institutional part by the end of the year.
Therefore, 2023 could become a landmark year for San Marino. The last stage of the journey includes a number of important steps, the next of which is the participation of San Marino in the next meeting of the European Political Community (EPC), which will take place on 1 June in Chișinău.