Montenegro rejects the proposal for Balkan "mini Schengen". Thaci from Pristina: A silly initiative

Dragica Sekulic 
 Montenegrin Economy Minister Dragica Sekulic said on Monday that joining the "mini Schengen" initiative for Balkan states proposed by Albania, Northern Macedonia, and Serbia would be a waste of energy because its country already " has opened its borders ”and has removed trade barriers for its neighbors.

She said Montenegro is a member of CEFTA, the Central European Free Trade Agreement, a regional initiative for the Western Balkan countries that guarantees the free movement of goods.

“I understand the initiators. These are places that, because of the different trade barriers that have been placed on each other, may need a new initiative to promise again that they will do what we have long done," Sekulic said on Montenegrin public television.

She also said that Montenegrin citizens are already traveling using only their ID cards as a document for all countries in the region, except Croatia.

At a Summit in Ohrid in North Macedonia on November 10th, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, his North Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic committed to working together to remove barriers to the movement of goods and people between the three Balkan countries.

They also invited other Balkan countries to join the initiative.

After the meeting, Zaev said the "mini-Schengen" area would help boost economic growth and foreign investment.

Rama called on Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina to join the process but reiterated that Kosovo must also be involved.

But Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said in a Facebook message that "the country's path to EU and NATO membership cannot be replaced by any regional initiative".

He also said the initiative "makes no sense as long as Serbia and Bosnia do not recognize Kosovo's independence".

The Ohrid Summit came weeks after the European Union failed on October 15 to give the green light to start membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, hitting again the Balkan countries hopes for a speedy accession process.
Montenegro rejects the proposal for Balkan "mini Schengen". Thaci from Pristina: A silly initiative Montenegro rejects the proposal for Balkan "mini Schengen". Thaci from Pristina: A silly initiative Tuesday, November 12, 2019 Rating: 5
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