‘Open Balkans’ initiative moves forward with the signing of six agreements

by Cristian Florescu

The so-called ‘Open Balkans’ initiative to ease movement, travel and trade restrictions between Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia has taken a big leap forward, write centraleuropeantimes.com

The overall concept of Open Balkans is to create a border-less area where trade and investment can happen among the participants all of whom are vying to eventually accede to the European Union. Border controls between the three countries are scheduled to be removed by 2023 to facilitate the free movement of goods, services, capital and people.

Rama, Zaev and Vucic came up with the initiative in 2019 as an alternative to EU accession given the West Balkan countries’ frustration with an unclear roadmap to joining the EU – thus far, only Montenegro and Serbia have been allowed to open accession talks.

While all six Western Balkan countries have been invited to join Open Balkans, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Montenegro have refused to participate.

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