I would like to thank the hosts and in particular Deputy Prime Minister Thaci and Minister Zharku for an excellent organisation of the Western Balkan 6 Ministerial in Pristina.
I’m very pleased to note that the ministers today adopted a joint statement on agreed principles and the way forward and I am confident that we will soon be able to finalise the agreement on the core network we have discussed today.
The regional core network is important because it provides a good planning framework for investment priorities as well as for the implementation of the EU-compatible reforms which ensures the best regulatory environment to operate these projects.
In the EU, the core network links all capitals, main economic centres and major ports. These priority links only become part of the core network if Member States commit to completing by 2030 all related investments and all required technical standards.
The core network therefore involves focusing on the most important inter-connectors and ensuring that the countries have the necessary fiscal and budgetary means to complete them by 2030. This mutual commitment makes the process credible.
The aim should therefore not be to have the largest possible regional core network but to focus on the most important segments which could be implemented by 2030. This ensures the added value of the process and provides the necessary guarantee for each country that its investments will be worthwhile, since each country knows that its neighbours share the same commitment.
All countries must focus on the core investment priorities (core network), establish a credible planning and funding mechanism (single sector pipelines) and ensure that they have the fiscal space to take up the necessary loan financing to get all the projects implemented by 2030.