CEA is implementing a one-year project supported by the Open Society Foundations with the aim of assessing and streamlining the potential of the Initiative Open Balkan. 

BACKGROUND

Recognising the lack of interest of the EU in enlargement in the Western Balkans, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama decided to “take destiny in their own hands” and launch a “mini-Schengen” in October 2019. In July 2021, this idea evolved into a regional initiative “Open Balkan[1]”. The initiative is no substitute for membership in the EU, but a path to accelerated membership and utilization of the existing but insufficiently used potentials in these countries, which might facilitate additional economic growth and development and thus, welfare for their citizens.

CHALLENGES TO KEEP THE MOMENTUM

Developing and cultivating neighbourly relations in the Western Balkan in expectation of economic prosperity will require eliminating border controls and other barriers in order to facilitate the movement of people, goods and services, and capital in the region. Regional disparities analyses (for example, coastal vs. internal, NUTS 2 and NUTS 3 regions, urban vs. rural, capital cities vs. other cities) of the Open Balkan countries might offer insights when determining priorities for more accelerated growth and internal convergence of the Open Balkan region. At the moment, there is a lack of properly elaborated analyses to assess the existing challenges.

[1] By Open Balkan, we will define the territorial space of six countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Albania.

ACTIVITIES OF THE PROJECT

An independent pool of experts from the six countries diagnosing and investigating the bottlenecks for cooperation and coordination among the Open Balkan countries will add value to the already demonstrated political will for the Open Balkan initiative, leading to its more structured, priority-focused, and systematic development.

Project Outputs and activities:

1) OPEN BALKAN, BERLIN PROCESS AND EU’S ACQUIS: Rapid analysis within the assessing and streamlining potentials of the Open Balkan Initiative

2) ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF THE OPEN BALKAN INITIATIVE: Rapid analysis within the assessing and streamlining potentials of the Open Balkan Initiative

Studies and analyses – country & regional:

TASK 1) SCREENING OF THE OPEN BALKAN INITIATIVE – COUNTRY ANALYSES  MK, SR, ALB

Executive Summary ENG

TASK 2)

Volume 1: Country disparity analyses: Desk research ENG

Volume 2: Analysis of the territorial challenges, needs and potential of the six Western Balkan countries: An  economic view ENG

Volume 3: Country disparity analyses: Cluster analysis ENG + Cluster analysis Maps

Executive Summary ENG

Peer Review and editor letter Task 1 & Task 2

TASK 3)

ENG: STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT OF PRESENT STATE, HOW IT IS PLANNED WITH OBI AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE GAP IDENTIFICATION FOR THE AGREEMENT ON CONDITIONS FOR FREE ACCESS TO THE LABOUR MARKET IN THE WESTERN BALKAN

МК: СТРАТЕШКА ОЦЕНКА НА СЕГАШНАТА СОСТОЈБА, КАКО СЕ ПЛАНИРА СО ИНИЦИЈАТИВАТА ОТВОРЕН БАЛКАН И УТВРДУВАЊЕ НА АДМИНИСТРАТИВНИОТ ЈАЗ ЗА ДОГОВОРОТ ЗА УСЛОВИ ЗА СЛОБОДЕН ПРИСТАП ДО ПАЗАРОТ НА ТРУДОТ ВО ЗАПАДЕН БАЛКАН  

SRB: СТРАТЕШКА ОЦЕНА САДАШЊЕГ СТАЊА, ШТА СЕ ПЛАНИРА СА ИНИЦИЈАТИВОМ ОТВОРЕНИ БАЛКАН И УТВРЂИВАЊЕ АДМИНИСТРАТИВНИОТ ЈАЗА У ВЕЗИ СПОРАЗУМА О УСЛОВИМА ЗА СЛОБОДАН ПРИСТУП ТРЖИШТУ РАДА НА ЗАПАДНОМ БАЛКАНУ

ALB: VLERËSIMI STRATEGJIK I SITUATËS AKTUALE NË PLANIFIKIMIN E NISMËS SË BALLKANIT TË HAPUR DHE PËRCAKTIMI I HENDEKUT ADMINISTRATIV PËR MARRËVESHJEN MBI KUSHTET E AKSESIT TË LIRË NË TREGUN E PUNËS NË BALLKANIN PERËNDIMOR

TASK 4)

ENG: WESTERN BALKAN ECONOMIC FORECASTS: OPEN BALKAN AND BERLIN PROCESS

MK: ЕКОНОМСКИ ПРОЕКЦИИ ЗА ЗАПАДЕН БАЛКАН: ОТВОРЕН БАЛКАН И БЕРЛИНСКИ ПРОЦЕС

СРБ: ЕКОНОМСКЕ ПРОЈЕКЦИЈЕ ЗА ЗАПАДНИ БАЛКАН: ОТВОРЕНИ БАЛКАН И БЕРЛИНСКИ ПРОЦЕС

ALB: PROJEKSIONE EKONOMIKE PËR BALLKANIN PERËNDIMOR: BALLKANI I HAPUR DHE PROCESI I BERLINIT

Update Report on the OBI state of play, on adoption and ratification of the OBI agreements and MoUs

ENG: UPDATE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE OPEN BALKAN INITIATIVE – PARTICIPATING COUNTRIES

Rapid macro-forecast of the potential effects of the cohesion policies for North Macedonia 

ENG: RAPID MACRO-FORECAST: POTENTIAL MACRO-EFFECTS OF COHESION POLICY – NORTH MACEDONIA

TASK 3) UPDATE

Progress with narrowing the administrative gap for free access to labor market

ENG: PROGRESS WITH NARROWING THE ADMINISTRATIVE GAP OF THE OPEN BALKAN INITIATIVE-OBI IN THE AREA OF FREE ACCESS TO LABOR MARKET IN THE WESTERN BALKAN

Progress with narrowing the administrative gap for free access to labor market – the businesses’ view

ENG:PROGRESS WITH NARROWING THE ADMINISTRATIVE GAP OF THE OPEN BALKAN INITIATIVE-OBI IN THE AREA OF FREE ACCESS TO LABOR MARKET IN THE WESTERN BALKAN: THE VIEW OF BUSINESS COMMUNITY