Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti has rejected the invitation of his Macedonian counterpart Dimitar Kovacevski to attend the Open Balkans summit that will take place in Ohrid on 7-8 June 2022.
In Kurti’s Thursday letter to Kovacevski , he stated that Kosovo is committed to the Berlin Process and the Common Regional Market initiative signed by all six Western Balkan countries in 2020 and fully supported by the European Union.
He urged Kovacevski for the two countries to work together to prevent Serbia’s promotion of Russian and Chinese interests in the region.
“Given the common values between our two countries, it is in our interest to work together to prevent Serbia from promoting its Russian and Chinese interests in our region, while constantly denying Kosovo’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and blocking equal opportunities for the citizens of Kosovo,” Kurti wrote.
The Open Balkan is an initiative by the leaders of Serbia and Albania, later joined by North Macedonia. The three other regional countries – Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro refuse to join, citing their focus on EU integration.
Launched in 2019, the Open Balkan parallels one of the the four main pillars of the Common Regional Market jointly agreed by all countries in the region. It remains unclear what this initiative adds to the Common Regional Market, which has a very detailed actions plan currently being implemented.
The initiative has abolished roaming fees in the Western Balkan area, in contrast to the Open Balkan’s only achievement so in three years: enabling citizens of Serbia and Albania to travel in respective countries using only IDs.
Kosovo says it will participate in the Berlin Process only, where it is recognized as equal with other states.