BRUSSELS – European Commission Spokesperson Ana Pisonero stated for European Western Balkans that the Western Balkan leaders need to make progress on the implementation of the Common Regional Market. This is an initiative that was established at the Sofia Summit in 2020 in the framework of the Berlin Process.
Pisonero said that the lack of progress in implementing the Common Regional Market has withheld important gains, particularly for businesses, investors and consumers.
Asked by our portal about the position of the European Commission toward the Open Balkan initiative in the light of the presence of the European Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi at the Open Balkan Summit in Ohird on Wednesday, Pisonero said that the Commission welcomed that the participants of the Open Balkan were committed to promoting increased regional integration, but that it remains clear that “the greatest benefits will come at six”.
“The Western Balkan leaders need to make progress on the implementation of the Common Regional Market, established at the Sofia Summit in 2020, with the constructive engagement of all parties. This is important to realise the full benefits of regional integration, to make the best possible use of the investments under Economic and Investment Plan and to better link the entire region to the EU’s Single Market. In this context, while the priority remains to advance on Common Regional Market, the Open Balkan initiative has the potential to accelerate the economic integration of the region, if it is done in an inclusive manner and based on EU rules and norms and the four freedoms of the EU’s Single Market”, Pisonero said.
She also encouraged the participants to make full use of the existing structures, such as CEFTA and the Regional Cooperation Council to make use of their expertise and knowledge.
The EU, Pisonero said, will continue to support the Regional Co-operation Council, CEFTA, the Transport and Energy Communities in bringing benefits to the whole WB and beyond through enhanced regional cooperation.
“The EU’s Economic and Investment Plan of up to 30 billion in investments is an integral part of the support to the Western Balkans on the path to the EU, with benefits for both the region and the EU. Successful regional economic integration will help to pave the way to a deeper economic integration with the EU single market and help reaching the ultimate goal, EU accession”, Pisonero concluded.