Escobar: Open Balkans initiative cannot succeed without all Western Balkans countries

The pressure on BiH politicians to accept reforms should come from its residents. [EPA-EFE/FEHIM DEMIR]

US special envoy for the Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, stated on Wednesday that the Open Balkans initiative could not succeed if it did not include “all six countries” of the Western Balkans.

“The three countries that are launching this initiative must be very frank and have close talks with the other three sceptical partners, and their concerns should be taken into consideration. Without all six countries, this initiative cannot succeed. You cannot promise the effective transmission of energy, telecommunications, market if all six countries are not included, that simply doesn’t work,” Escobar stated at the conference “Open Balkans – Road to stabilisation, cooperation and prosperity of the region.”

The Open Balkans initiative was launched by Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania. Kosovo, Montenegro, and Bosnia Herzegovina refuse to join due to fears it could hinder their EU path or reinforce Serbia’s political agenda.

The US ambassador to Serbia, Anthony Godfrey, stated that the goals of the Open Balkans initiative were crucial for the European future of Serbia and the entire region.

“The US fully supports the region’s ongoing efforts towards economic coordination and integration. The goals of the Open Balkans initiative, which advocates stability and prosperity through the free flow of goods, people, capital and services, is crucial for the European future of Serbia and the entire region,” Godfrey stated.

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