Serbia: Open Balkan initiative streamlines agricultural logistics

Agricultural products can now pass between Serbia, Albania and Northern Macedonia without stopping at the border.

Trucks can be seen waiting at a border crossing point.
Beeld: ©MM

With the Open Balkan initiative, the main benefit for agriculture producers from Serbia, Albania, and North Macedonia is that trucks will no longer have to wait at the borders due to phytosanitary and veterinary control. Within the initiative “Open Balkan”, the Agreement on cooperation in veterinary; phytosanitary; and food and animal feed safety in the Western Balkans was signed by the Ministers of Agriculture from Serbia and Albania and Deputy Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia in Tirana last December. The three countries have already harmonized all necessary documentation regarding phyto and veterinary certificates, procedures, lists of plant and animal diseases as well as laboratory analyses.

Since January 3, 2022, trucks with agricultural products from those three countries have been passing the border control points without waiting. A special lane at border crossings for goods from the tree countries will be secured. One example of the agreement’s benefits will be the fact that markets in Serbia, Albania and Northern Macedonia will be supplied for a longer period of time with seasonal fruits and vegetables that ripen earlier in Albania or Northern Macedonia, and later in Serbia.

Last December, as a part of the Open Balkan regional cooperation initiative, presidents of the three countries met in Tirana to sign an agreement on free access to the labor market in the Western Balkans. The agreement will enable the introduction of a single work permit for all three countries. During the Open Balkan summit in Tirana, the three leaders also signed an agreement on introducing an electronic system of citizen identification for the Western Balkan region.

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