Shehu says the initiative on Open Balkans has been framed by Serb President Vucic being supported by Albanian PM Rama

The Democratic Party (DP) lawmaker, Tritan Shehu has criticized harshly the Open Balkans initiative telling parliament in an interpellation with the PM, Edi Rama, demanded by him that the initiative has been launched by Serb President, Aleksandar Vucic.

Shehu, a former Foreign Minister, said on Thursday the interpellation is important because it has to do with issues and strategies linked with the regional relations, the economic exchanges, the NATO’s role and the European vision of Albania.

"As such, it includes a wide range of events for Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia with the interests of our partners who, among others, are involved in the region in a number of comprehensive integration development initiatives, such as IPA, CEFTA and the Berlin Process,” said the DP deputy, Shehu.

He was of the opinion that a wide-ranging discussion had been needed before the announcement of this initiative as Mini Schengen in Novi Sad, which thus tends to obscure community initiatives in the region. "And even worse, that it is aimed at replacing them with such an initiative with the protagonist and guarantor, Vucic. It is an initiative that made you an honorable supporter, Prime Minister."

Further on Shehu added that a few days ago the Foreign Minister declared in the Parliament that this initiative is not prepared in the offices of the Socialist Party.

"I absolutely agree with the fact that this initiative has not been prepared in the offices of the Socialist Party or in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it has not even undergone a wide dialogue within the country; it was not discussed with the countries of the region, it was not prepared in discussion with our partners as Brussels, Washington, nor with those important countries like Germany, Italy, Greece, France, Austria. "In fact, it was engineered in Vucic's offices, based on reminiscences of Serbia's dream for a New Yugoslavia after the dissolution of the old one," he said in the plenary session during which PM Rama unveiled his vision on the initiative.

Shehu also added that in fact it was mounted as a common building with another Serbian idea that lived before the independence of Kosovo for its redistribution within the territory of Yugoslavia or the creation of Greater Serbia through the exchange of territories Kosovo-Serbia after independence.

"So here we are dealing with an overlap of two projects, that of Greater Serbia with a new Yugoslavia, trying to weaken the sovereignty of Kosovo, whose remnants could be merged with Albania. And you, Prime Minister, became its supporter. In fact, your finger was on the first project of the exchange of territories, but as a result of the active intervention of our EU and US partners, it was rejected," said Shehu. /