Growth and Convergence for the Western Balkans Six Conference was held in Tirana in February

Tirana – In a Joint Statement issued at the Growth and Convergence for the Western Balkans Six Conference held in Tirana on 29 February 2024, the Leaders of the Western Balkans Six (WB6) commended the work of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), underscored the region’s commitment to integration and emphasized enhanced cooperation with the EU.

“The time is ticking on defining the future of our region that is working in two parallel streams right now. The first is the work on national reform agendas advancing the path to the EU, and the second is deepening regional economic integration among themselves, which is a stepping stone to accessing the EU Single Market. The first one has a clearly set path by the EU, while the second one is a work in progress and the new phase of the Common Regional Market (CRM) Action Plan, we are currently preparing in cooperation with all regional partners, is aimed at establishing a functional CRM within the Western Balkans, as a pre-condition for closer integration with the EU Single Market. Now it is time to think out of the box on what can be next, how we will deepen and widen the cooperation in the region, what you all can deliver together so that in few years from now, you can ask the EU to provide you access to that specific area, once your homework is done,” said RCC Secretary General Majlinda Bregu at the meeting.

The RCC Secretary General also warned about the need to avoid institutional overlapping considering the overwhelming work of the region’s national reform agenda implementation and CRM Action Plan, stressing that synergising and harmonisation among everyone involved is essential.

The Leaders’ Joint Statement highlights the EU Growth Plan for the Western Balkans as pivotal for joining the EU Single Market integration and reform acceleration. They acknowledged the significance of the Berlin Process Summit’s Chair Conclusions in Tirana on 16 October 2023, noting the importance of regional cooperation, notably the economic and social transformative potentials of the Common Regional Market, for the unleashing of economic and social potential of the region as well as for its preparation to gradually phase-in into the Single Market. 

The Tirana WB leaders’ meeting comes as a follow-up of their meeting held in Skopje last month, showing region’s persistence and commitment to the EU Growth Plan implementation.

Ahead of this meeting, the Western Balkans leaders met with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy where they discussed the deepening of cooperation between our region and Ukraine. 

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