NOVI SAD – Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia, Edi Rama and Zoran Zaev, signed a joint Declaration with the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić today, which is based on four key European Union freedoms – flow of goods, capital, services and people.
Western Balkan leaders met in the city of Novi Sad, where they discussed the ways to intensify the flow of goods and services, as well as the mobility of the people in the region.
“Any initiative aimed at boosting regional co-operation, as a criterion in the EU agenda, and accelerating the Western Balkans’ EU integration, is welcomed”, Zaev announced on his Facebook profile yesterday.
According to Zaev, there is untapped potential for increasing regional cooperation, intensifying trade, flow of goods, mobility of people, services and capital among all Western Balkan countries. His colleagues sent similar messages.
Speaking to reporters after a trilateral meeting, Vučić said that the discussions have been to the benefit of the citizens of the three countries and that the goal was to enable them to cross the states’ mutual borders using only ID cards by the end of 2021.
He emphasised that the trucks in the Western Balkans are losing 26 million hours every year on border crossings, adding that the removal of those barriers would enable huge savings.
Prime Minister Rama promised that the „Balkan Schengen“ will be a reality by 2021, Albanian daily reports.
He explained that everything that is being done with regards of implementing this project will improve the prospects of the European future.
„Everything that we are doing will serve the European future, as well as to the opening and creating investment opportunities in the Balkans“, said Rama.
Establishing a „small Schengen“ area in the Western Balkans, which would provide companies across the region with a single market of nearly 20 million consumers, would be beneficial for all countries in the region, assesses the Foreign Investor Council.
During the next trilateral meeting, planned to be held Ohrid as early as 10 November, the countries will present more concrete measures.