The meeting of the four Western Balkans leaders in Tirana is finished and the main topic that was discussed was a formation of the so-called Mini Schengen zone.
The meeting was attended by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic.
After the summit, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said important decisions were made at the meeting to promote trade between the three countries, an agreement on which will be signed in Podgorica or Belgrade.
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“We discussed how to improve trade, facilitate the flow of goods, services and capital, and make important decisions. This is of great importance for the entire region,” Vucic said at a joint conference.
He noted that, in addition to the fact that veterinary and phytosanitary inspections at the border between Serbia and North Macedonia will be open 24 hours, customs teams will also have a meeting in the next period to facilitate customs clearance and further reduce waiting at the border. In that regard, he added that it would increase the number of lanes and scales at border crossings, so that trucks would pass the border much faster – in six or seven instead of 23 hours.
Vucic underlined that the Mini Schengen countries would aim at creating a unique labour market which means that workers from Serbia who want to work in Albania or North Macedonia will have the opportunity to register and have a permanent work permit in both countries and vice versa.
Participating countries in this regional integration initiative have called for support and assistance from international financial institutions for a new growth agenda at the Tirana summit.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said the European Commission was ready to allocate € 1.2 billion next year to countries in the region to implement the agreements reached under the Mini Schengen agreement.
“These are not loans but grants,” Rama said at a joint press conference after the meeting.
This post is also available in: Italiano