Home Finance Open Balkan has fulfilled its mission, it is time to focus on the Berlin process – EURACTIV.com

Open Balkan has fulfilled its mission, it is time to focus on the Berlin process – EURACTIV.com

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Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama says the Open Balkans initiative has fulfilled its mission and it is time to examine the path forward towards EU membership, as the capital Tirana is set to host the summit from Berlin in October.

The Open Balkan format involves Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia, with Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina refusing to participate, and Montenegro hesitant for now. It aims to facilitate free movement, trade and ties between countries in the region through a series of agreements, with leaders meeting periodically to sign agreements.

It has, however, sparked controversy, with Kosovo condemning Serbia’s involvement and fearing that it could harm the Berlin process, mainly because it was put in place at a time when EU enlargement was particularly stagnant.

Rama said it was “an initiative born out of the need to advance the Berlin process and has fulfilled the mission for which it was created. We must now throw ourselves headlong into the Berlin process, because we have this opportunity.”

Serbian President Aleksander Vucic reacted to Rama’s statement by saying: “I don’t believe Rama said that. I hope to see it soon. The open Balkans are an autonomous and autonomous idea of ​​the Balkan peoples. He said he would always consider any regional initiative superior to “foreign” ones.

Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani also reacted to the news, saying that it is linked to the current geopolitical situation.

“I think that the reaction of the Albanian Prime Minister is the result of recent events, of the arrest of the police officers,” he said. Euronews Albania.

In mid-June, Rama warned of a cooling of relations with Serbia if the three police officers arrested by Serbia, apparently from the territory of Kosovo, were not released.

“The longer these three men remain in Serbia – even if they crossed the border, they did not commit any crime – the less likely it will be for our bilateral relations not to take a significant step backwards!” This will be the week the ice returns between us if they are not released,” he said at the time.

Rama also said Albania would host the Berlin summit in October 2023, as the country “prepares for a big step forward.” Tirana became the first third country to host the Western Balkans summit in December 2022.

“We are working with the European Union for a new financing and economic support plan for all countries in the region that we really want to bring to fruition at the Berlin summit in October,” Rama said, adding that it would include funding increased to increase access. from the Western Balkans to the European common market.

But on the subject of Kosovo, Rama said he did not understand Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s position and would not win this diplomatic battle.

“Albin is a person I like, a friend I respect, but in this case it is the Prime Minister of Kosovo who I do not understand,” Rama said. He added that Kurti’s statements and position are legitimate, but it makes no sense to continue like this while the so-called Franco-German plan, supported by the EU, is on the table.

“At this point, having placed Serbia in a narrow box, the Euro-Atlantic community can neither understand nor tolerate the behavior of the Kosovo authorities and the Prime Minister. This is behavior like many years ago, as if this whole process (the European dialogue) had not happened,” he added.

Rama said the international community is ready to extort formal recognition of Kosovo from Serbia or accept the de facto abandonment of Kosovo and openness to recognition by those who do not recognize. “It’s inexplicable. What are the Kosovo authorities looking for? He asked.

(Alice Taylor | Sortie.al)

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