The Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, and his counterparts from Serbia and North Macedonia, Vucic and Zaev, held a joint video meeting.
In this video meeting, the leaders of the Balkan states stated that the crisis has stressed the need to further intensify mutual cooperation.
Joint press release of the leaders of Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia:
President Vucic and Prime Ministers Rama and Zaev stressed that the initiative to boost regional co-operation is fully in line with the Berlin Process and a good basis for the Sofia Summit.
The leaders of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia – President Aleksandar Vucic, the prime ministers, Edi Rama and Zoran Zaev, held a meeting through Zoom to resume the initiative for deeper regional cooperation that was introduced last year.
The activities of the initiative for deeper regional cooperation were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the elections in North Macedonia and Serbia. The three leaders agreed that the crisis has highlighted the need to further intensify mutual co-operation and regional economic integration.
During the online meeting, President Vucic and Prime Ministers Rama and Zaev stressed that the initiative is fully in line with the Berlin Process and provides a good basis for preparing the countries of the Western Balkans for the next meeting on the Western Balkans to be held in November in Sofia. This year, Bulgaria and North Macedonia are co-chairs of the Berlin Process.
The leaders of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia agreed that it is very important that the six countries of the Western Balkans participate in the initiative for deeper regional cooperation. They formally invited Kosovo to join the initiative for deeper regional co-operation. The invitation follows the framework set at the Washington meeting in September this year between Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti.
President Vuçiç and Prime Ministers Rama and Zaev also agreed to set up a permanent working group, which will include official representatives from each of the countries, in order to speed up the implementation of activities agreed upon in the framework of the deepened regional cooperation.
The leaders agreed that the deepened regional co-operation initiative could be used to identify joint infrastructure projects for the region’s development agenda, in line with the EU Economic and Investment Package for the Western Balkans.
The three Leaders also agreed to deepen cooperation and align public health policies in the context of the fight against Covid-19. The three leaders said they hoped that soon the governments of Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina could join the initiative. “Thus, better economic cooperation can be achieved between all countries in the region, which would result in increased freedoms, trade and, in general, better living standards for all peoples of the region,” the joint statement said.