Kosovo should become part of Open Balkan initiative: Ex-minister


Kosovo should become a part of the Open Balkan initiative which supports a joint economic area in the Western Balkans, the country’s former foreign minister said.

In an interview with the Radio Television of Kosovo, Enver Hoxhaj said Kosovo should take part in regional organizations and initiatives and seek support to become a member of the Partnership for Peace, Council of Europe, and NATO.

“The Open Balkans is not even an organization, it is an informal group of states, like the G7 or G20. And in my view, it would be easy for Kosovo if it behaves constructively, creatively, and participates in the Open Balkans, and asks for support from the states for us to become part of the Council of Europe, to become part of the partnership for peace of NATO.

“You cannot say ‘no’ to an informal initiative for cooperation in the region and ask partners from different countries to support you, either in Strasbourg or in Brussels,” said Hoxhaj.

He added that the last Open Balkan initiative had the full support of the US.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Albin Kurti has refused to allow Kosovo to become a part of the initiative until Serbia recognizes Kosovo as an independent state.

In early June, the Open Balkans initiative members held another meeting in Ohrid, North Macedonia, where the meeting was finalized with three memorandums and an agreement.

Kosovo is the only country out of the six Western Balkan countries that continues to refuse to participate in the Open Balkan initiative.

The initiative is an economic and political zone of three Balkan states: Albania, North Macedonia, and Serbia. It aims to provide greater trade and student exchange opportunities for an estimated total population of 12 million people, as well as to encourage member countries’ EU integration.

In April, Serbia opened a special section at its border gates for commercial vehicles under the Open Balkans initiative for a joint economic area in the Western Balkans.



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