UDC 339.92(497)
Biblid: 0025-8555, 72(2020)
Vol. 72, No 3, pp. 595-618
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2298/MEDJP2003595D

Pregledni članak
Received: 29 Mar 2020
Accepted: 08 Jun 2020


ĐUKANOVIĆ Dragan (Dr Dragan Đukanović je vanredni profesor na Fakultetu političkih nauka Univerziteta u Beogradu), dragandjuk@yahoo.com
ĐORĐEVIĆ Branislav (Dr Branislav Đorđević je redovni profesor u Institutu za međunarodnu politiku i privredu, Beograd)

The concept of the Regional Economic Area was developed gradually within the framework of the Berlin Process, which began its operations in 2014. A particular momentum for this initiative was given at the Berlin Process Summit, held in Trieste in July 2017, when the Consolidated Multi-Annual Action Plan for the Regional Economic Area in the Western Balkans Six was adopted. The main objective of the REA was related to trade, investment, mobility, and digital integration throughout the Western Balkans region. At the summit of Western Balkans leaders, chaired by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, in late April 2019, the idea of a full revival of the Regional Economic Area was again encouraged. Despite some opposition and disagreement on the part of some Western Balkan leaders for fear that the REA would compensate for the Western Balkan countries\' membership in the European Union, it came to its empowering through the format of the tripartite meetings of leaders of Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania – “Mini Schengen”. However, these meetings explicitly highlighted the link between “Mini Schengen”, the REA and the wider context of European integration, but also that this initiative actually aimed to secure \"four EU freedoms\" throughout the Western Balkans region. This primarily refers to the freedom of movement of persons with a valid ID, as well as the possibility of employment, residence, and living in these countries. Moreover, mutual recognition of all diplomas and qualifications between the three countries is envisaged. It is particularly important to ensure the full inclusiveness of “Mini Schengen” in the future, through the participation of all entities in the Western Balkans, including Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. It is equally significant that the leaders of the Western Balkan countries express solidarity regarding the continuation of European integration, as it was done at the meetings held in Novi Sad (10 October 2019), Ohrid (10 November 2019) and Tirana (21 December 2019) through support for Albania and North Macedonia to begin pre-accession negotiations with the EU. Also, “Mini Schengen”, as an initiative for cooperation predominantly related to the economic segment, involves deepening of cooperation in both security and civilian emergencies, which is a relevant response to the current challenges in this part of Europe.

Keywords: “Mini Schengen”, four freedoms, Regional Economic Area, Western Balkans, European Union, market