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Thursday, December 9, 2021

EU on Open Balkan: We welcome commitments of the WB leaders to regional cooperation

Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama, North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic launched last month the regional initiative dubbed Open Balkan whihs is opposed by Kosovo whgereas the two other Western Balkan countries which comprise the WB6 – Montenegro and Bosnia Herzegovina have hesitated to join the initiative.

The regional initiative has also ignited a war of words between Pristina and Tirana after Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti has refused to join the initiative saying that Open Balkan is “a tendency of Vucic to open Balkans towards Russia and China.”

But what is the European Union position on the Open Balkan and whether Kosovo should joint this initiative?

European Commission spokeswoman Ana Pisonero told Gazeta Express that the EU welcomes the commitments of the leaders to regional cooperation, adding that importance this cooperation should be inclusive. Pisonero also recalls the political commitment taken by the six leaders of the region at the Sofia Summit last autumn for creation of the Common Regional Market.
“We welcome the commitments of the leaders to regional cooperation, an essential element of the European perspective of the Western Balkans and an integral part of the Stabilisation and Association Process. We understand the wish to move forward. At the same time, a process involving the entire Western Balkan region is essential. In this context, it is important that the region advances on setting up a Common Regional Market, a political commitment taken by the six leaders of the region at the Sofia Summit last autumn,” Pisonero told Gazeta Express in a written statement.

She said that the EU is bringing significant investment opportunities to the region through the Economic and Investment Plan. “Now it is for the region to use them well by harnessing its full economic potential and establishing a Common Regional Market based on EU rules,” Pisonero concluded.

Also the Federal Government of Germany said that any regional cooperation in the Western Balkans is beneficial, whereas the United States said that Kosovo should remain open to regional initiatives.

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