Zakošnjek: Western Balkans needs to connect, build and rehabilitate transport infrastructure

Matej Zakošnjek during Tirana Connectivity Forum 2020; photo: Twitter

TIRANA – Western Balkans need to connect, build and rehabilitate transport infrastructure based on forward-looking transport policy, with the main aim and focus to a seamless integration of the Western Balkans transport markets into the EU, said Matej Zakošnjek, Director of the Permanent Secretariat of Transport Community, during the Tirana Connectivity Forum (TFC 2020).

Zakošnjek underlined that the transport connectivity of the Western Balkans should be turned into an essential value, not just a technical thing.

He told that Green Corridors can serve as an example of successful regional cooperation.

Zakošnjek said that a very quick reaction arrived in the Western Balkans, due to CEFTA, the RCC, Transport Community, European Commission and partners in the Western Balkans because Green Lines were created in few weeks.

According to him, the implementation of Green Corridors were necessary so that the goods and medical equipment could move as fast as possible.

The regional initiative “Green Corridors” enabled the smooth flow of goods in the most critical phase of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) by stabilizing the flow of goods in the Western Balkans region, which significantly helped export-oriented companies, but also those whose production depends on imports.

Zakošnjek underlined that it is important to ensure that the green corridors remains green forever so that this special transport regime is extended to other areas.

According to him, in the future, it is necessary to reduce the waiting at border crossings, both for trucks and businesses and for ordinary citizens and visitors.

“We have to work together to reduce the number of trucks waiting at the borders, but also the number of citizens and tourists. That is our common goal,” he said, adding that it is good that there is a great will at the highest levels and among the leaders in the Western Balkans to make this happen.

He stressed that the transport connectivity of the Western Balkans should be turned into an essential value, not just a technical thing.

“When it was clear to all regional partners that something was absolutely necessary to implement, it happened in a few weeks. It is something that would not be possible in different circumstances. When we all have the same goal and when we all work together, things can be solved,” Zakošnjek concluded.

TCF 2020 is part of the official calendar of activities of the German Presidency of the European Union. The forum will gather experts, researchers, academicians, CSO, Western Balkans Summit coordinators and other policy-makers involved in EU Enlargement in SEE6, in Regional Cooperation, and in Connectivity dynamics. Due to the challenges presented by the global pandemic COVID-19 and its restrictions, this year, TCF will take place online, in partnership with Euronews Albania.