Western Balkan leaders’ Summit: “Balkan Schengen”, a project to be implemented by 2021

The summit of Western Balkan leaders Vucic, Rama and Zaev concluded yesterday morning with a press conference. The three leaders said that despite the divisions, the region must find common ground.

Some concrete figures were said at the meeting, for a project to be implemented by 2021 for the “Balkan Schengen”. There are over 26 million hours of trucks waiting in all the customs of the region, there are 350 thousand companies operating in the region, there is a market with over 20 million customers.

Rama said that we need to move ahead and the initiative, otherwise known as the “Little Schengen”, was open to all Western Balkan countries.

“This is not a meeting that happened suddenly and I want to make it clear that it is not aimed at any franchise; on the contrary, it is a step taken to ensure a generally inclusive process and if you read the statement we are talking about six Western Balkan countries, ”Rama said.

Albania’s Prime Minister reiterated that open issues within the region should not prevent the parties from accepting disagreements on certain issues, as well as agreeing on issues that concern all citizens.

“It is enough to set an example to understand how desperately we need to move forward and that is the 26 million hours of waiting in the past years at border crossings,” the Albanian Prime Minister said.

Rama recalled that an action plan for the regional economic zone had existed since the Trieste Process meeting in Berlin in 2017, but that two years later there were insufficient things for economic growth, helping more interaction or greater integration.

“If we are together, everyone is interested in the Balkans. We invite all Balkan leaders in this meeting”. That was the drawn conclusion, setting the next meeting on November 10 in North Macedonia.

The initiative was welcomed by regional chambers of commerce across the Western Balkans.

/Klara Ruci/

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