When it comes to the idea of Western Balkan’s “Mini Schengen”, Prime Ministers of Kosovo and Albania have a huge difference in their opinions.
The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti supports more the idea of ‘an Albanian Macro Schengen’, but for the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, there won’t be ‘an Albanian Macro-Schengen’ without Balkan’s ‘Mini-Schengen’.
In a press conference held today in Tirana, Kurti made known his opinions on the topic, even though he said that both PMs have already dealt with this issue briefly, VisaGuide.World reports.
“This is the first meeting, there are many topics that we will discuss in the future and this was a topic that we dealt with, but briefly. The meeting today was mostly for the Albanian macro-Schengen, than for Balkan mini-Schengen,” Kurti pointed out.
On the other hand, Rama believes that the Balkan mini-Schengen is closely linked to the regional one.
“It is true that at this point, we have a discussion to move forward. I think there is no Albanian macro Schengen without the Balkan mini-Schengen. I believe that the Albanian macro-Schengen is closely linked to the regional one,” highlighted the Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama adding that “neither Serbia nor any other country can tell us we are making ‘Greater Albania,’ if we get rid of borders.”
Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia have made an agreement to facilitate the movement of people, goods, services, and capital, in the so-called “Balkan’s Mini-Schengen”.
Balkan’s first “Mini-Schengen” meeting was held on October 11, 2019, in Novi Sad, where the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Ministers of Albania and North Macedonia, Edi Rama, and Zoran Zaev participated.
The leaders of the three countries had signed an agreement that would enable the citizens of Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia to cross each other’s borders with only an ID card by 2021.
The initiative is open to the three other Western Balkan countries, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo.
But Kosovo’s former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, as well as the newly elected PM Albin Kurti, together with other Kosovar politicians have disinclined the idea of Balkan’s “Mini Schengen”, which is supported by Rama and the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
Three consecutive meetings of “Mini Schengen” in Balkans were boycotted by Kosovar leaders. The consecutive meetings were held in Serbia, Macedonia, and Albania.
Besides Kosovo, another Western Balkan country has rejected the idea of Balkan’s “Mini-Schengen”.
During the previous meeting held in Ohrid on November 9, 2019, between the President of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev, the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia Herzegovina, the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, and the Montenegrin Minister of Economy Dragica Sekulic, the latter called the idea “a waste of energy.”
Sekulic said at the time that Montenegro is already a member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement, that guarantees the free movement of goods. She had highlighted that Montenegrins were already capable of traveling to all neighboring countries with only their IDs, except Croatia, which is an EU member.
She had also called out on the initiators of this idea, blaming them for placing different trade barriers on each other, and now wanting to promise that this thing will be changed.