Tue, 22 Oct 2019

NOVI SAD, Serbia -- Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia have agreed to lift barriers to free trade and travel between the three Balkan states.

Meeting in the Serbian city of Novi Sad on October 10, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic signed a joint declaration pledging to open their countries' borders to the movement of goods, capital, people, and services.

They invited other Balkan countries to join the initiative, dubbed 'little Schengen' after the EU's border-free zone, which they said will help boost economic recovery and foreign investment.

Vucic said representatives of Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia were set to meet on November 10 in Ohrid, North Macedonia, to discuss 'concrete' measures.

Zaev said the initiative showed that the Balkans are 'no longer a gunpowder barrel,' but a region of economic development and stability dedicated to European integration.

Relations between countries in the Balkan region remain tense following the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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