Dialogue does not mean much to businessmen, entrepreneurs,and citizens. The implementation of existing agreements linking the regional market is needed. But instead of implementation, the ideas for new signatures appear again.
The regional market connection between two agreements and one idea. Politics has attitudes without institutional analysis. In the meantime, we bring an analysis of economists. The Open Balkans or the Berlin Process?
The Open Balkans Initiative remains without consensus, both in the Balkans and in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). They opened and approached; Serbia, North Macedonia, and Albania. Kosovois the only one categorically against. Our country with Montenegro is still undecided. According to available information, the Open Balkans envisages the free movement of capital, goods, services, and people. Kosovo claims that not all countries have the same treatment. BiH is officially silent.
BiH Presidency is still waiting for the analysis of the Council of Ministers of BiH after two years. Those who are most concerned are also waiting.
“I am afraid that it would be a special problem if the Open Balkans happened, that these few people we have would leave. For that reason, someone needs to talk to the economy professionally. To explain all the advantages and disadvantages. I have to be honest, they talk to us very sparingly, “ pointed out the exporter Edin Jabandzic.
And also, there is no much information about the initiative itself. Until the analysis of institutions, economists analyze. And they are divided. Some say there is no real need for the Open Balkans. The market is already open and cooperation is defined through existing, more concrete agreements. Others see it as an opportunity for improvement.
“We are talking about two initiatives, one of which has a budget of 30 billion euros – the Berlin Process, and the other does not offer anything in that sense, has no defined budget or action plan,” told economic expert and analyst Amina Pilav-Velic.
“This is just an addition to an association called CEFTA. It is just a form of easier movement of people in these difficult times. This means that you can come to Sarajevo with an ID card from Macedonia on a construction site, ” explains economic analyst Zoran Pavlovic.
For now, that is impossible without certain procedures. But trade is possible. And it is with exports to CEFTA countries that BiHfor the first time exceeded the coverage of imports by exports by 100 percent.
Serbia remains the largest foreign trade partner in the region. Earlier with a large surplus, this year, the coverage of imports by exports exceeded 85 percent. Of the other CEFTA countries, BiH has a large trade surplus with Montenegro, a slight deficit with North Macedonia, and higher exports than imports with Albania, Kosovo, and Moldova.
According to the Federation of BiH (FBiH) Chamber of Commerce, the CEFTA agreement is sufficient, but it must be adhered to and improved.
Also, the majority of the professional public believes that the Berlin Process is stalled, but offers a specific plan and brings the Western Balkans closer to European integration. The announced new strengthening of this process is also encouraging. So there is a framework, but it is not being implemented. Therefore, the question is who needs a signature on the already signed rules?