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The strong statement of the American expert: 'Open Balkan' undermines the 'Berlin Process', gives power to Vucic
The American expert on the Balkans, Edward P. Joseph, has stated that the "Open Balkan" initiative undermines the "Berlin Process" and gives more economic and political power to Serbia. Serbian nationalist ambitions are worrying, he says.
This concern was raised earlier, but Prime Minister Edi Rama, who strongly defends the initiative, has repeatedly denied it, and ignored the calls of internationals who demand the inclusiveness of the six countries of the Western Balkans.
In an interview for DW , Joseph said that, "The dangers of 'Open Balkan' are not well understood, even though they are clear to many people in the Balkans." He underlined that "Open Balkan" is a danger that can lead to the worsening of political problems in the Region.
"We can summarize the problems in this form: dubious theory, naive structure and dangerous consequences" , he added. The expert requested that the supporters of this initiative should stop and analyze why "Open Balkan" is opposed.
"'Open Balkans' is a competing initiative of several other initiatives in the region, including the 'Berlin Process', CEFTA, and the Regional Cooperation Council, which helps coordinate and promote concrete steps. The US is strongly supporting 'Open Balkans' in visible ways, including the event in Ohrid, and in various diplomatic efforts.
I know that officials in the region have shared their concerns with US officials, including serious concerns about threatened security, giving Serbia led by Aleksandar Vucic more economic power and considering Vucic a 'partner', when he openly opposes the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and the EU", Joseph further stated.