Belgrade wants to speed up the integration with the European Union, but also strongly supports the neighbouring countries like North Macedonia and Albania in their strive to join the bloc, as extremely important for the regional stability and prosperity, Serbia's Prime Minister Ana Brnabic tells the Western Balkans (WB) online Summit in Sofia within the Berlin Process on Tuesday.
Speaking about the severe economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Brnabic advocated the expansion of the Green Corridor outside the Western Balkans and broadening of the reach and potential of neighbouring EU member states.
She also spoke in favour of an enlarged EU, which she saw as an essential step in economic recovery and greater Western Balkans - economic alignment.
She told the summit, Serbia was ready to join "the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), an EU initiative to simplify bank transfers, which she hoped would reduce the cost of regional payments and serve as a useful mechanism for post-pandemic recovery.
In his address to the summit, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Joseph Borrell welcomed the Declaration on creating the Western Balkans common market, describing it as a way to unleash economic potential and make the region capable of joining the EU.
Borrell said the EU's engagement with the Western Balkans region was and has remained strong because "the Western Balkans are in the heart of Europe and its future is in the EU."
He added the Western Balkans' integration into the EU, along with improving prosperity, justice and security, had been in the common interest of the Union and the region.
Later on Tuesday, Sem Fabrizi, the head of the EU Delegation in Serbia, welcomed the adoption of the Declaration on Western Balkans common market, adding it took the region closed to the bloc.
Kosovo's Prime Minister Avdulah Hoti also said the declarations on the common market and Green Agenda, were an essential step for the Western Balkans six.
A very important step today for#WB6. Together with all the countries of the Western Balkans in the#SofiaSummit, which is the continuation of the Berlin Process, we signed the declaration on the#CommonRegionalMarketAction Plan and the green agenda.#StrongerTogether@eu_nearpic.twitter.com/XHjbA5NtlS— Avdullah Hoti (@Avdullah)November 10, 2020
Brnabic told the Summit Serbia remained committed to the implementation of all five pillars of the Green Agenda in line with the regional socio-economic reality.
She signed the Declaration on the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans, and asked the EU partners "to consider ways which would allow us to access additional funding for the implementation of the Green Agenda, which will be very challenging and expensive."
Besides some European countries' leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the prime ministers of Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia, Boyko Borisov and Zoran Zaev, took part at the summit as co-organisers.