Western Balkan leaders are urging the EU to recognize their vaccination certificates

Western Balkan leaders are urging the EU to recognize their vaccination certificates
Western Balkans leaders in Tirana Summit
 The Heads of Government and the States of the Balkans asked today the European Union to recognize the Digital Vaccination Certificates they issue to their citizens so that they too can move without restrictions. The request was made during the next meeting in Tirana, which was attended by the Commissioner for Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi. The latter announced that the fund of almost 30 billion euros that Brussels has allocated for investments and financing of projects in the Western Balkans, has already been approved by all European institutions.

While in the focus of the Tirana meeting, even in the light of the financial support promised by the European Union, was the advancement of the so-called Balkan Schengen process, the leaders of 6 countries in the region came up with a common position on a problem that affects citizens of the region which has to do with restrictions on movement in the European Union area due to the pandemic. As the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama announced, they have officially addressed the European Union, using the presence of the Commissioner for Enlargement, Oliver Harvelyi.

"Today, all countries have submitted to the Commissioner and through the Commissioner the request that the digital green card of the citizen of a country of our region, in terms of health security, be recognized throughout the European Union so we move freely, as the citizens of the European Union", declared the Albanian Prime Minister.

For his part, Commissioner Varhelyi explained that the Commission has made a recommendation to the member states," as this is the competence and responsibility of the member states". From 1 July, member states will recognize certificates issued by their authorities to EU citizens. "While we are achieving a very high level of vaccination in the European Union, and for this and the risks are lower in terms of people coming and traveling from your countries, of course, we will see relief in travel. We have all suffered from this and it is certainly unpleasant, I do not believe it is pleasant for anyone, but all this, in fact, depends on the situation of the Covid pandemic. No one should view it as a diplomatic or political issue, but this is really a matter of public health. But I believe that with the start of the summer season in early July, this issue will be part of history," said the European commissioner.

The Balkan countries have long embarked on a process of facilitating the movement of goods, persons between their countries and efforts to create a common regional market, which Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama defined as “a strategic project with the benefits of extraordinary economic, social, but in the end also political for our entire region and I am glad that the synergy of this vision with the European Union is now complete".

For its part, Brussels has decided to offer a package of nearly 30 billion euros of support for the economic development of the region as a whole and Commissioner Varhelyi announced that this funding has already received the approval of all European institutions: "We already have an agreement in European Union to fund this plan. We reached an agreement last week with the Council and the European Parliament on the IPA 3 program as we call it, ie pre-accession funds, which will be the mechanism through which this plan will be financed. 

"So, from our side, we are more than ready to start the implementation and now we want our partners in the Western Balkans to start implementing this plan as soon as possible."

Commissioner Varhelyi stressed, however, that "this plan will not work if the region itself does not function as a whole and if we do not have a regional market."

The amount made available by the European Union is almost one-third of the region's Gross Domestic Product.
Western Balkan leaders are urging the EU to recognize their vaccination certificates Western Balkan leaders are urging the EU to recognize their vaccination certificates Thursday, June 10, 2021 Rating: 5
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