Olivér Várhelyi for "Open Balkan": The EU supports it. Other states participate, changing the grim reality on the ground
EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Olivér Várhelyi has backed the "Open Balkan" initiative. He virtually participated in today's summit, where he asked the Prime Minister Edi Rama, the Macedonian Zoran Zaev and the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to continue to promote cooperation for this initiative.
The Commissioner said that this initiative brings economic benefits to the participating countries. Referring to the dire situation in the Balkans, as Várhelyi considered it, he called on Kosovo, Bosnia and Montenegro to join the initiative.
Várhelyi said the EU supports any regional co-operation, provided it is based on the bloc's values. He stressed that he has supported this initiative since the beginning of time.
"To be honest I have been very keen on this proposal. You must continue to promote this initiative, the region wants to be a whole in terms of economy and society. I also admire the fact how strongly you feel this initiative, because first of all it was an initiative from the Balkans and not from the EU.
You continued even when we failed to attract the participation of all Balkan actors. This is the best message the region can convey. You can include me as a supporter of the "Open Balkans".
We think that based on EU values any regional cooperation is welcome. Let me seize the opportunity and tell the three partners to return to cooperation, as it offers increased employment, but may change the realities on the ground, which are very bleak. "Only through the concrete creation of the common market in the region can 1/3 of the existing GDP be added" , said the commissioner.