Albania's PM pushes for expediting Open Balkans initiative

"It is not up to us to convince anyone that Open Balkans is open. We have to move forward, we can not wait. It is up to everyone to make their own decisions. We are simply implementing the Berlin process. Everyone should independently decide whatever they want for their country," said PM Edi Rama during the online meeting in the frame of the Open Balkans initiative held in Belgrade on Wednesday.

That sounded like a reply to the gist of the statement of US envoy to the Balkans Gabriel Escobar. The latter stated in the event that the initiative will succeed only if all countries, ie the 6 countries in the region will become part of it.

Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia have rejected the project as soon as it was launched.

In the meantime  Rama thanked everyone and in particular Escobar for the genuine support to the project but he said the EU had become a problem when it keeps saying that the initiative should be inclusive.

"None of us has claimed to be perfect. But instead of saying that, it would better to encourage others and Europe and Germany should not be used as alibi that they are against it. I would be happy for both allies and partners to encourage others to join (the initiative). I have never heard from (Serbian President Alexandar) Vucic that he does not want Kosovo on the table. The 'Open Balkans' should not be done a caricature of the structures we know saying  one thing and then another," Rama said.

The Deputy Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Nikola Dimitrov, said that "borders should become less and less relevant."

Serbian Prime Minister Brnabic called the "Open Balkans" a wise policy. "If we fail in an initiative like this, our success is in danger," Serbian PM said. /