Montenegro Reiterates Its Rejection to Join Open Balkan Initiative

Montenegro focuses on Common Regional Market, an initiative within the Berlin Process, which is more suitable for the country than the Open Balkan initiative launched by Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia, Montenegro’s Chief Negotiator Zorka Kordić has said.

Since Montenegro is the most advanced country in the region when it comes to the EU integration process, the Government supports the implementation of regional initiatives exclusively as an instrument of a faster EU accession, Kordić told Vijesti on Monday.

“Therefore, we primarily focus on the implementation of the Action Plan for the Common Regional Market under the auspices of the Berlin Process, as a political initiative that includes all Western Balkan countries,” she stressed.

Kordić stated that the Common Regional Market was more inclusive than the Open Balkan, because in addition to the four freedoms of movement, it also addresses digital infrastructure, innovation and a single investment policy according to EU standards.

“It is complementary to our aspiration for EU membership and provides a framework for the use of funds from the economic and investment plan for the Western Balkans worth nine billion euros. I also believe that early integration measures in the context of the revised methodology of EU accession can be better achieved through a common regional market, which is a more comprehensive initiative than Open Balkan,” said Montenegro’s Chief Negotiator Kordić.

From Mini-Schengen to Open Balkans is the route of the initiative that Serb President Aleksandar Vucic and Albanian Premier Edi Rama, who have been joined by the North Macedonian Premier Zoran Zaev, have been promoting without any result to make the three other WB countries, that is Montenegro, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina become members of the initiative.

A few days ago, it was Kosovo Premier Albin Kurti who rejected the scheme seeing in it a threat to the sovereignty of his country by Serbia.  Vucic and Rama were the main promoters of the land exchange between Serbia and Kosovo expanding in the entire Balkans, but was short lived as all the countries of the region, and Germany rejected it completely. /