Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has invited Prime Minister of Montenegro, Dritan Abazovic, to the “Open Balkan Summit” that will take place in Ohrid on June 7-8.
“Another great opportunity to discuss bilateral issues with Dritan Abazovic during the World Economic Forum, but also to invite him once again to join us in the meeting of the ‘Open Balkans’ initiative in Ohrid,” Vucic wrote on Instagram.
The two leaders met in Davos, Switzerland where they are both participating in the 2022 edition of the World Economic Forum.
“Montenegro is making every effort to promote a policy of regional cooperation, reconciliation, coexistence and better economic cohesion in the Western Balkans. Relations with Serbia are a priority – we are ready for intensive cooperation in all areas of common interest,” Abazovic wrote on Twitter after the meeting.
The Open Balkan is an initiative launched in October 2019 by the leaders of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia. It aimed to establish an area without barriers to the movement of goods, people, services and capital.
Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, have refused to join, essentially arguing that the new initiative is redundant as it mimics in poor terms a more robust initiative under the Berlin Process, and that it would only keep each country and the whole region away from the EU.
Abazovic, however, appears more willing than his predecessors to be persuaded to become a member of the Albania and Serbia-led initiative. During an interview with Kosovo media in early May, he said that he agrees to the initiative in principle.
Despite Abazovic’s positive stance, the country’s President Milo Djukanovic reiterated his opposition the initiative during a recent meeting with Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani.
Djukanovic said that the Open Balkan was launched at a” moment of depression” due to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s expected departure and the EU refusal to advance the Balkan countries’ accession bids.