Transport Community Highlights New European Trade Reality at Berlin Process Meeting of Economic Ministers

Flags of the Berlin Process participants during the meeting in Tirana.

TIRANA – As part of Albania’s presidency of the Berlin Process, the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Albania organised the meeting of the Berlin Process participants’ economic ministers in Tirana on 26 September 2023. These efforts are in preparation for the upcoming Summit of Western Balkan Leaders, scheduled for 16 October, in Tirana, where further progress is expected to be discussed and acknowledged.

Transport Community Director, Mr Matej Zakonjšek, participated in panel discussion, focusing on the crucial role of transport connectivity in the economic convergence of the Western Balkans. He highlighted several achievements and initiatives aimed at enhancing transport infrastructure and reducing barriers in the region.

In the address, the Transport Community Director emphasised that investments in transport play a pivotal role in supporting economic growth and development in the Western Balkans and that the region’s focus has been on creating safe, reliable, and interconnected infrastructure, as well as facilitating efficient cross-border transport both within the Western Balkans and with the European Union (EU). Both the EU and the Western Balkans need to get ready to address the latest political and economical challenges in Europe.

In getting ready for this change, he noted that the Western Balkans, together with the assistance of the EU, should work on modernizing the railway corridors X, VIII, and Vc,  the ports of Durrës and Bar, as well as improve the border crossing points between Western Balkans and EU by enhancing the Green Lanes and introducing joint border controls. Further work on implementing EU legislation and standards in the field of transport is needed.

In conclusion, Mr Zakonjšek emphasised that efficient multimodal transport network, and continuous transport policy reforms on a national level are key success factors in enhancing connectivity and economic convergence in the Western Balkans.

Noting the importance of the upcoming events in the region, such as the Tirana Summit of the Berlin Process, he said that the next four months will be crucial to set firm commitments for the years to come.