As stated in the Brdo Declaration of 06 October 2021, “sustainable transport is a cornerstone of the economic and social integration of the EU and the Western Balkans”. Connectivity lies at the very heart of our societies and economies. It fuels growth and prosperity while easing political tensions and supporting the swift integration of the region into the EU. In recent years, significant financial support from the EU for the region’s transport infrastructure has been channelled under the connectivity agenda umbrella, to ensure seamless connections between regional partners and with neighbouring Member States, alongside the indicative extension of the TEN-T Network in the Western Balkans.
However, while significant progress has been made, there is still plenty of work ahead. Compliance with TEN-T standards is far from complete, while non-physical barriers continue to hamper the seamless flow of transport and trade in the region.
While all regional partners are actively pursuing their own connectivity goals, additional effort will be required to ensure coordinated development of the TEN-T in the region and achieve transition from a patchwork to a network. The existing infrastructure gaps and limited (though substantial) available funding, call for more coherent and focused strategic planning at the regional level to increase the network’s overall efficiency.