Connectivity Summit 2023
Connectivity Summit 2023 took place on 15-16 May in Budva, Montenegro. The event brought the attention of the wider community of professionals and political stakeholders to the issues related to sustainable and efficient transport and logistics, as prerequisites for attracting investments and enhanced trade within the region of Western Balkans, as well as between the region and EU.
Exchanging knowledge and best practices and raising awareness about the development of efficient multimodal transport connections and corresponding modern infrastructure, digitalised services, and integrated border controls, were the main objectives of the Summit, with final goal to improve the economies in the region and peoples’ lives.
The Connectivity Summit supported the implementation of the following strategic documents endorsed by the region and EU, and brought further impetus to the implementation of the EU-WB6 Green Lanes initiative, to be further extended to Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia:
- The Transport Facilitation Action Plan, endorsed by the Transport Community Ministerial Council in 2021, envisages actions targeting the main road and rail border crossing/common crossing points on the indicative extension of the TEN-T Network in the Western Balkans, and designed to address inefficiencies and delays at those points, as well as to improve/modernise/digitalise the operations. Additionally, based on the Action Plan on waterborne transport and multimodality, as well as the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy for Western Balkans (also endorsed by the Ministerial Council), Transport Community is working on improving the interaction of different transport modes along the Network to enable smoother, more efficient, and less costly logistic chains.
- Common Regional Market Action Plan was endorsed at the Berlin Process Summit held in November 2020 in Sofia, as a transformative tool to increase the attractiveness and competitiveness of the region and to bring the region closer to the EU markets. It is seen as a catalyst for deeper regional economic integration and a stepping stone towards EU Single Market.
- The Western Balkans – EU Green lanes initiative launched jointly by the Transport Community’s and CEFTA’s Secretariats is a response to repeated requests from the Western Balkans region to facilitate the flow of essential goods through Green Lanes linking the EU and the Western Balkans. The main aim is to have uninterrupted flows of priority supplies through the borders between EU Member States and the region and to cut the waiting time. The exchange of pre-arrival information from the CEFTA parties to EU had been agreed so far with Greece and Croatia, (for goods carried out in road transport) and with Italy (for maritime transport).
Furthermore, Connectivity Summit benefited from the presentation and discussion on the EU Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, which aims to boost economic growth and development, support a green and digital transition, and promote regional integration among the six Western Balkans partners. In addition, it reflected on the Global Gateway, as a European strategy to boost smart, clean and secure links in transport among other sectors, as well sustainable competitiveness and security of global supply chains.
Key deliverables of the Summit: (i) the High-Level Understanding on Indicative Maps of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) in the Western Balkans between the EU and the Transport Community Treaty contracting parties, and (ii) the endorsement of the Joint CEFTA-TCT Declaration “Taking Forward the Green Lanes”.