From: Bledar Qalliu
Rama, Vučić, Zaev to Rename ‘Mini Schengen’ in 7th Summit in Skopje

The leaders of Serbia, Albania, and North Macedonia will rename their proposed Mini Schengen regional economic area during their 7th summit in Skopje next month.

“We will jointly name this initiative, which we probably mistakenly called Mini Schengen, on July 28th and 29th in Skopje, at the next summit. We will give a new name to the initiative we have already agreed on,” Vučić told Euronews Serbia on Tuesday.

Vučić added that the Mini Schengen was “almost an epochal idea” that has increased the trust between the three leaders.

However, trust seems to be what the regional initiative has lacked most so far, with Kosovo, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina refusing to join. Kosovo maintains that the Mini Schengen doesn’t provide a platform where all countries are equal. Montenegro and Bosnia want to focus on initiatives closely related to EU integration, instead of regional ones.   

Over their six summits since its announcement in October 2019 in Serbia, the three founding countries have signed a cooperation memorandum during the coronavirus pandemic, and and an agreement enabling Albanians and Serbs to travel with ID cards only between the two countries.

Their repeated calls for the remaining three Wester Balkan (WB) countries to join have been ignored.

In a WB countries’ summit Tirana this month, Kosovo prime minister Albin Kurti said the Mini Schengen has ceased to exist since all six WB countries and the European Union established the Common Regional Market (CRM) in November 2020 under the umbrella of the Berlin Process.

The CRM includes the Mini Schengen objectives of free movement of goods, services, capital and people in one of its four areas: regional trade, investment, digitalization, and industry.