Antony Godfrey, the US ambassador to Serbia, said on Wednesday that his country fully supported the region's economic integration.
Ahead of the ‘Open Balkan – Road to Stabilisation, Cooperation and Prosperity of the Region’ meeting in Serbia’s Parliament, he said the idea of the ‘Open Balkan’ was crucial for European integration, but that they would fulfil its potential when the entire Western Balkans were connected.
Godfrey said that the ‘Open Balkan’ would help increase salaries and progress in European integration reforms.
Also on Wednesday, the US special envoy for the Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, agreed the ‘Open Balkan’ initiative could not succeed if all six countries of the Western Balkans were not included.
The US position is that all six Western Balkans countries should be members of the European Union within a reasonable time, he has added.
„We believe that their voice should be heard in the structures that affect the lives of the people who live in this area. In addition, every country that joins the EU becomes more democratic, stable and prosperous. We support any economic and regional integration that leads in that direction, „Escobar said,
He added the US support for the initiative was conditioned by an equal opportunity for everyone to participate and that it should not be an obstacle to the European integration of the region.
Serbia’s Minister of Mining and Energy Zorana Mihajlovic said that about 100,000 people a year migrate from three countries part of the initiative to other states.
She added that such initiatives could help the economies work and develop without problems.
So far, Serbia. North Macedonia and Albania joined the ‘Open Bakan’ initiative while Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo still refuse to join, stating mostly they don’t want any replacement for the European Union membership.