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December 21, 2021

Open Balkan: More Work and Trade, Less Bureaucracy and Misunderstandings


It will soon be easier for business people and citizens from Serbia, Albania, and North Macedonia to trade, travel and employ the staff they mostly lack, as well as to get integrated economically within the Open Balkan Initiative.

This was confirmed today at the Summit of the three leaders in Tirana by signing six trilateral and bilateral agreements that should upgrade business operations in the region and accelerate the movement of people, capital, services, and goods.

President Aleksandar Vučić, Prime Ministers Edi Rama, and Zoran Zaev gave a guarantee and support with their signatures that the agreed and signed will be implemented.

"The response of the policy is what the economy wanted and that is really a real dialogue. Today we have concrete solutions that save time and money and make our economies more competitive in the global market. In the following three months, the common labor market and the single work permit will start operating", said Marko Čadež, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia.

Businessmen expect that the first benefits will be shown quickly in practice soon through the harmonization of phytosanitary, veterinary, and other certificates, thus reducing business costs and improving the competitiveness of companies.

MK Group, as one of the leading investors in Southeast Europe, supports all the initiatives aimed at establishing facilities in the movement of goods, imports, and exports, as well as reducing business barriers.

We are convinced that the agreements are going to contribute to accelerating the implementation of the Open Balkan Initiative, stated Miloš Mijović, Manager of MK Agriculture. He points out that agriculture is one of the most important factors in connecting the economies of the region and announces the continuation of investments in modern and smart agriculture through digitalization and innovations. Representatives of company Milšped point out that the Open Balkan and the common regional market contribute to strengthening production and export capacities and reducing the operating costs of companies in the region.

The region is promoted as the single investment destination, companies are becoming more competitive both, in the European and global market, we get a single labor market, mutual recognition of AEO authorizations, as well as a single phytosanitary and veterinary inspection system and faster movement of goods at the border crossings operating for 24-hours a day, says Marko Divljan, Director of Milšped in Albania.

Slobodan Reljić, project manager for new markets at Delta Agrar, states that the company imports a lot of fruits and vegetables from Albania and that the harmonized certificates will significantly simplify and reduce the cost of the whole process. "As importers, we need to get a health certificate for our goods. After that, it can be placed on the market.

These analyzes are not cheap and the benefits brought by the signed agreement will significantly reduce costs, Reljić explained, and only after that can be placed on the market. These analyzes are not cheap and single procedures will make production cheaper and improve competitiveness. According to him, the single work permits will enable the employment of workers from the region adequately paid for their work. He reminded that this company had to hire workers from India.

The agreements that have been signed-in Tirana today are:

  • Agreement on conditions for free access to the labor market in the Western Balkans;
  • Agreement on the interconnection of schemes for electronic identification of the citizens of the Western Balkans;
  • Agreement on conditions for free access to the labor market and other future services for our citizens within Open Balkan Initiative;
  • Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Veterinary, Phytosanitary and Food and Feed Safety of Animals, Non-Animal and Composite Origin
  • Additionally, two bilateral agreements on Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) allowing certified companies faster and cheaper customs procedures between North Macedonia and Albania and between Albania and Serbia have been signed.

Also, the Agreement on Cooperation of Accreditation bodies in the Western Balkans has been signed at the margins of the Summit.