Vucic, Rama and Zaev agree on open borders in the Balkans

Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic said in Skopje on Thursday there would not be borders between North Macedonia, Albania and Serbia as of January 1, 2013, under the new Open Balkan regime, previously known as mini Schengen.

Vucic and prime ministers of Albania and North Macedonia, Edi Rama and Zoran Zaev, took part in the trilateral economic forum.

At the forum’s opening, Zaev said, „a new era of cooperation in the Western Balkans stars today.“

He added that over 300 companies and some hundred representatives of the chambers of commerce and business communities from other Balkans’ countries and states outside the region would participate in the forum.

Vucic said the so-called ‘mini Schengen showed the past could be left behind, and the eyes could focus on the future. The initiative was renamed the Open Balkan.

He added that those three countries could become „a development force of this part of Europe.“

Vucic said the move was not directed against anyone but aimed „at a sacred goal for people to live better“.

However, the Financial Times said on Wednesday that „the trio hit out at Brussels over the slow pace of EU enlargement“.

FT described the mini Schengen as a travel and business zone modelled on the EU free-travel arrangement would include a gradual easing of travel restrictions, faster ‘green lanes’ at borders, reduced waiting times for freight and easier access to work permits.“

The newspaper quoted Zaev as saying that „the final goal is to be a member country of the EU. But until the EU decides . . . we need to find ways to . . . continue the process of Europeanisation.“

FT also cited Rama, who said they were pushing ahead without the other Balkan states „to lead by example and not get stuck in a small caricature of the EU, where for everything you need consensus and everyone can veto any decision“.

(Politika, 30.07.2021)



This post is also available in: Italiano

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