Without Western Balkans, the EU will be an unfinished business, said Ms Majlinda Bregu, General Secretary-General of the Regional Cooperation Council during panel dedicated to WB which was held within 14th Bled Strategic Forum.
“The price of stagnation and further delaying decision on opening negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia is very high. Failing to open negotiations would lead to instability, immigration, disruptive influence of other geopolitical actors. Every positive moment could easily be lost if problems are neglected. Nobody can afford to waste any more time- people are leaving. We must change that and we must transform our societies. The EU should see this as an alert sign”, said Ms Bregu.
With the aim of accelerating cooperation, governments in the region have obliged to put REA into practice.
“We’ve already achieved success in the area of digital technology with Regional Roaming Agreement, which means that we could progress when there’s a political will. On the other side, as for the mobility and Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications, what would be the purpose of such agreement if people from Kosovo aren’t allowed to travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina without visa? Therefore, REA might be nice political framework, but it has to be strengthened by political element”, said Ms Bretgu.
As she said, regional cooperation isn’t technical but rather political process, based on political will of governments and citizens who support that process more than governments.
“Support for the EU membership reaches 56%. People believe that they will be better with their neighbors. In order for that to happen, we must all share the same vision”, pointed out Ms Bregu.