Ferdinand Koenig, the EU Delegation in BiH spokesperson told N1 that the EU Delegation welcomes the recent signing of an agreement at the Western Balkans Summit in Berlin, which will help improve and encourage regional cooperation in the Western Balkans.
High officials of Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia signed three agreements at the summit of the Berlin Process, whose goal is regional connection and free movement of citizens of the Western Balkans, especially greater mobility of professionals, students, researchers and professors.
“Regional cooperation is at the heart of why the EU was founded and is one of the key elements in the EU integration process,” Koenig told N1.
He noted that this is one of the items bringing Bosnia closer to the European Union.
“The signed agreements will facilitate freedom of movement and employment throughout the region. It will improve connectivity and contribute to economic cooperation and the strengthening of the common regional market,” said the spokesperson of the EU Delegation to BiH, calling on the authorities in BiH to ratify the signed agreements.
“These agreements bring many benefits, but they will have their full effect when all signatory countries apply and implement them fully. Therefore, we call on the authorities in BiH to ratify and implement these agreements as soon as possible, so that citizens can take advantage of the new benefits that stronger regional cooperation offers,” Koenig said in a statement to N1.
One of the agreements that were signed was an agreement on free movement with identity cards and the abolition of the existing visa regime between Bosnia and Kosovo.
Apart from Serbia, Bosnia is the only country in the region that does not recognize the independence of Kosovo and the only country in the region that has a visa regime with Kosovo. In 2014, Kosovo introduced reciprocal visa regime measures to BiH, after Bosnia failed to abolish visas for citizens of Kosovo. Those measures created great problems for the citizens of the two countries and made free movement impossible.
The harmonization of the version of the document was preceded by almost two years of intensive negotiations, and as previously announced, this agreement demolishes the last remaining “visa wall” in the region.