Top officials from Montenegro (PM Dritan Abazovic) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (Chairman of the Council of Ministers Zoran Tegeltija) will participate for the first time in the Otvoreni Balkan (Open Balkans) conference, that will take place today and tomorrow in Ohrid in North Macedonia.
The news is assessed in political and diplomatic circles in the region as a strong incentive for the project initiated by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to gain momentum. To remind, the United States is in favour of the Open Balkans initiative while Germany is pushing for the Berlin Process with the help of official Zagreb, Priština and the federal authorities in Sarajevo.
Dejan Miletić, president of the Center for Globalization Studies, thinks that the conditions are ripe for the Open Balkans project to come fully to life.
“First of all, there have been some changes in Montenegro, namely changes in the way this project is perceived, as well as Milo Đukanović’s reduced influence on Montenegro’s position. This is an important element. Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had been making excuses for not joining the project so far, claiming that it was a project to create a Greater Serbia, is warming up to the idea. So now, with the support of the United States, this project has a realistic future, and this is very good news for all of us, both in Serbia and in the region,” Miletić says.
The initiative rests on economic cooperation and the removal of obstacles to it, as well as the uninterrupted flow of workforce and goods between the countries in the region.
The first meeting regarding the initiative was between the President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, and the then Prime Minister of Macedonia, Zoran Zaev. Meanwhile, America has firmly supported this project. On the other hand, official Berlin is trying hard to oppose the project, and recently the Croatian Foreign Minister, Gordan Grlić Radman, said that priority should be given to the Berlin Process.
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