SARAJEVO/TIRANA/ZAGREB, May 7 (FENA) – Now, almost 4 years after we initiated the work on Regional Economic Area (REA) the region is ready to embark on the next phase of deepening regional economic cooperation assure the WB6 economies to have ownership first and bringing the region closer to the EU internal market. While it is my pleasure to officially commit today the full readiness and dedication of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) on developing the future of REA Action plan, with a view of its prospective endorsement at the Berlin process Summit, the process has already started,” said the RCC Secretary-General Majlinda Bregu at the EU-Western Balkans Zagreb Summit hosted by the Croatian EU Presidency via video conference on Wednesday.
“Regional cooperation is always important, but in times like this it becomes even vital. Grappling for economic recovery will not be an easy call. The Green corridor or green lanes of foods and medicines within WB and with EU are now a reality – and that’s the most recent example where regional cooperation once more delivered. We are glad the RCC initiated its coordination among all stakeholders. Thanks to the cooperation and political willingness it changed in two weeks,” added Bregu.
“But no brilliant regional plan of action can succeed without strong political leadership. And no future plan on WB will attain necessary results if EU-WB trajectories are not fully synchronized and converged. As the region is moving from crisis management to recovery, regional cooperation and togetherness should be important elements of the resolute response.”
New realities call for new adjustments and socio-economic transformation of the region towards Innovation and Digital transformation and a WB fit for Digital Age; boosted Connectivity (including building on the successful Green Corridors in WB with a view of addressing the structural improvements also at the borders with EU MS); Green and Green energy transition; a dynamic industrial policy with new and rebuilt regional value chains; better integrated in the Europeanized value chains; strengthened and upskilled human capital; and operationalized disaster preparedness and response capacity at the regional level.
“Some notable successes on REA have been already generated as part of our common efforts, not least the regional roaming agreement. Other regional processes are ongoing and we do hope additional results are imminent. It is against the dramatically different context the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered, that the reinvigorated regional economic cooperation agenda must respond to the challenge of managing the crisis while building the future,” concluded Bregu.
The EU-Western Balkans Zagreb Summit was the main event of the Croatian EU Council Presidency. It gathered the leaders of the EU and the Western Balkans six for the first time since Sofia Summit in May 2018, to discuss a new perspective of the region. The meeting was chaired by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, stated the RCC.