The leaders of Serbia, Albania and Northern Macedonia have signed the so-called "mini-Schengen" agreement, which - based on the original EU model - provides for the free movement of people, goods, capital and services in these countries.
Officials from the three countries said they expect all Western Balkan countries to join the agreement soon.
Vucic, Rama and Zaev
"We are doing this to a great benefit to our citizens, believing that people in our countries deserve a better future, higher living standards and a much lower unemployment rate."- said Vucic at a joint press conference in Novi Sad.
Furthermore, the Serbian president added that he expects that by the 2021 the citizens of the three countries will be able to cross the borders using only their ID.
"The open issues that exist in the region should not prevent countries from agreeing on what concerns citizens. We are gathered by the need to develop our economies, by the need to encourage and improve the conditions and quality of life of all citizens."- said the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.
The prime minister of Northern Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, has instead said he expects that the remaining countries of the Western Balkans - Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro - will join the initiative:
"We are sending the message that political relations in the region are becoming simpler, that the Balkans are no longer a barrel of gunpowder, but a region of stability, economic development, dedicated to European integration and improving the standards of its citizens ."- said Zaev.
Regional economic cooperation
Regional economic cooperation is one of the objectives of the Berlin process, a European initiative to strengthen regional cooperation.
In July, at the Trieste summit, the leaders of the Western Balkan countries approved a multi-year action plan on the regional economic space in the Western Balkans, which was announced in the 2017 by the Vice-President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Pierre Heilbronn.
However, no significant progress has been made mainly due to the continuing political disagreements between countries. The leaders of the Western Balkans will meet again on November 10, Ohrid, in Northern Macedonia.
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