EU enlargement needs rebooting – bringing the process closer to the people

April 7, 2023

Senior Technical Expert on Trade Facilitation Ms Danijela Gacevic participated at the Conference “New visions for the Western Balkans: EU Accession and Regional Security,” hosted by the International Affairs Institute and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy Mr. Antonio Tajani and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Mr. Tobias Billström opened the Conference, that gathered ministers of foreign affairs and other high-level representatives, policy makers and civil society representatives, both from the Western Balkans and the EU, discussing expectations and prospects for the future of the Western Balkans economies.

Stressing the links between the Western Balkans and EU, Ms Danijela Gacevic stated  Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans and the revised enlargement methodology provides for the gradual approach for accessing the EU Single market, so called phasing in. It puts the regional integration in the centre of processes, as the benefits achieved in regional arena are seen as a steppingstone to the EU Single Market. As World Bank study shows, the regional economic integration to the level of EU could bring additional 6.7% to the growth of the GDP. CEFTA is strongly committed to implementation of trade facilitation agenda in goods and services, with the aim to extend it to the EU. Our efforts invested in development of regional trade are modelled after the EU rules and policies and therefore they add more benefits for the ones who invest in the EU integration. We have to prove to the EU that we are reliable partners. “

Reminding on the achievements of the Green Lanes initiative and the CEFTA’s trade data sharing with the EU, Ms Gacevic stressed that it is one successful example of cooperation in CEFTA and with the EU Members States and that the models for its full implementation are being discussed with the EU services.

The Conference was organised at the margins of the Ministerial Meeting on the Western Balkans, as part of the Italy’s initiative to foster dialogue and regional cooperation, as well as to relaunch the European integration process of the Western Balkans economies.

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