Businesses and the citizens of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia will soon be able to trade, travel, employ a workforce that is in demand more easily and integrate economically under the auspices of the Open Balkans initiative more quickly.
This was confirmed yesterday at the summit of the three countries’ leaders in Tirana with the signing of six trilateral and bilateral agreements, which implementation is supposed to improve business in the region and expedite the flow of people, capital, services and goods.
The president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, and the prime ministers of Albania and North Macedonia, Edi Rama and Zoran Zaev respectively, signed the documents.
“Politics has fulfilled the needs of businesses and this is indeed a true dialogue. Today, we have concrete solutions which save time and money and make our economies more competitive in the global market. In the next three months, the common labour market and the single work permit will be launched,” said Marko Cadez, the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia (CCIS).
The business sector expects the first benefits to become apparent in practice very quickly through the implementation of harmonized phytosanitary, veterinary and other certificates, which will reduce operating costs borne by companies and boost their competitiveness.
The biggest Serbian freight forwarding company, Milsped, says that that Open Balkans and the common regional market contribute to higher production and export capacities and the reduction of business costs for companies in the region.
“The region is now promoted as a unified investment destination, our companies are becoming more competitive in the European and global markets, we are getting a single labour market, the mutual recognition of AEO authorizations, as well as a common phytosanitary and veterinary control system and a quicker flow of goods at borders,” says Marko Divljan, the director of Milsped in Albania.
The following agreements were signed in Tirana – the Agreement on the Conditions for a Free Access to the Labour Market in the Western Balkans, the Agreement on Connecting the Schemes of Electronic Identification of the Residents of the Western Balkans and the Agreement on Cooperation in Veterinary, Phytosanitary and Food and Animal Feed Safety in the Western Balkans.
The Government of Serbia and the Council of Ministers of Albania signed an agreement on the mutual recognition of the certification of authorized economic operators for security and safety (AEOs), and the Government of North Macedonia and the Council of Ministers of Albania signed the same agreement. The Agreement on Cooperation of Accreditation Bodies in the Western Balkans was also signed on the summit’ sidelines.
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