Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic held an informal meeting earlier this Monday in Scotland.
Rama and Vucic were both in Glasgow to attend the United Nations Conference on Climate Change from November 1-12, reported euronews on Monday.
Vucic posted a photo of their meeting, showing both leaders discussing what the Serbian president specified to be the ‘Open Balkan’ initiative.
“Should we conduct the meeting in Belgrade or postpone it, after what happened in Skopje,” noted president Vucic in his post.
In a meeting held before the beginning of the UN conference, it was reported that the Macedonian president, Stevo Pendarovski was also present.
The North Macedonian PM, Zaev declared on Monday that he would not attend the tripartite meeting on the ‘Open Balkan’ initiative because of his resignation on Sunday midnight after the loss of his party in the local government elections.
Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia signed an agreement and two memorandums of cooperation in the Economic Forum for Regional Cooperation which was held in Skopje on July 29, 2021.
Rama, Vucic and Zaev also decided to rename the initiative whose ultimate objective is to remove borders and simplify bureaucracies among Western Balkan neighbors, calling it Open Balkan. Known earlier as the mini-Schengen, the initiative sparked a debate among the countries of the Western Balkans, with Kosovo, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina refusing to join it.
“Our countries are walking on the same path, we share the same vision and European values. This Open Balkan initiative is the initiative that the region needs,” said North Macedonia’s premier Zoran Zaev on that occasion.
Rama said that the three countries had signed an agreement to “stand together in any case”. “This is the spirit of this initiative and I don’t want to say more”, added Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.
For the Serbian President, the agreements signed are a positive thing and will enable traveling across these countries without any obstacles. “Together we can make things incomparably better than alone”, declared Vucic, adding that the results will be more visible in the upcoming months.
It is not known the future of the initiative in case Zaev leaves the premier’s post because not all the political scene of North Macedonia supports the ‘Open Balkan’ seeing it as an attempt of Serbia to become the master of the region. / Argumentum.al