Multi-annual Action Plan for a Regional Economic Area in the Western Balkans - MAP

MAP – a driver of economic growth of the region, focusing on trade, investment, mobility and digital integration

 

The leaders of Western Balkans Six (WB6) endorsed the Multi-annual Action Plan for a Regional Economic Area in the Western Balkans Six (MAP), at the Berlin-process summit held on 12 July 2017 in Trieste.

The MAP, whose development was coordinated by the RCC upon request of the WB6 Leaders and supported by the European Commission (EC), aims to enable unobstructed flow of goods, services, capital and highly skilled labour; making the region more attractive for investment and trade; accelerating convergence with the EU thus bringing prosperity to Western Balkans citizens.

Deliverables to the end of 2017

  • First draft of the Mutual Recognition Agreement for professional qualifications in health and construction sector elaborated
  • Operationalized database on Professional Qualifications and Mobility of Professionals
  • Completed Study on Digitization prospects in Western Balkans and regional position paper on lowering costs of international roaming
  • Established network of WB6 Computer Security Incident Response Teams (cybersecurity), with strengthened capacities
  • Detailed mapping of foreign investments in the WB6 executed
  • Completed legal review to define options for an improved dispute settlement framework under CEFTA with a view to facilitate trade dispute resolution in intra-regional trade

Expectations for 2018

  • Organization of an ambitious High-level WB6 Digital Summit, co-organized with EC and the German Federal government, to kick-start a regional multi-stakeholder dialogue on the WB digital transformation challenges and prospects
  • A clear roadmap on lowering international roaming costs with the EU
  • Initiation of the formal negotiations on the recognition of professional and academic qualifications
  • A joint regional investment promotion agreed, with a focused set of investment outreach activities in core sectors, in close cooperation with World Bank and EC
  • Regional investment reform agenda developed, priority issues in investment pertinent policies agreed and a comprehensive inventory of key investment policy barriers and inhibitors compiled
  • Timely entry into force of the Additional Protocol 5 on trade facilitation
  • Adoption of the Additional Protocol 6 on trade in services liberalization

The MAP actions are designed to help the private sector reap the economies of scale of a 20 million market, and refocus the growth model towards more indigenous, long-term driven growth. The actions are focused on:

  • promotion of further trade integration;
  • introduction of a dynamic regional investment space;
  • facilitation of regional mobility;
  • creation of a digital integration agenda.

Since summer 2017 MAP has become the main focus of the RCC activities, which are complementary with the SEE 2020 Strategy. The MAP specifically focuses on trade, investment, mobility and digital integration that are equally important as a step closer to the EU and as a driver of economic growth of the region. Delivering on MAP measures can address the fragmentation of our region’s markets; make our region more open to trade and investments; strengthen our research and innovation base and digitalize our societies and businesses. It can also assist our region in meeting the economic criteria for EU membership.

The implementation of activities detailed in the MAP lies within the realm of responsibility of the National Authorities (NAs), with the support of the regional and international organisations active in the specific policy areas and under the guidance of MAP Coordinators.

The first Meeting of the MAP Coordinators, reviewing the main requirements for MAP implementation, discussing governance, monitoring and reporting aspects, and agreeing on the timetables and steps to be taken in 2017 and onwards, has been held on 31 October in Brussels.

The role of the RCC is to coordinate MAP implementation jointly with CEFTA Secretariat and monitor MAP implementation process, regularly informing PMs’ Sherpas and reporting to the Annual Western Balkans Summits on the progress made.

The principle of ‘all-inclusiveness’ is promoted in all structures involved in the coordination and monitoring of the activities within the MAP. The RCC will work to mobilize and unite the efforts of the entire regional “architecture”, including the existing structures from private sector and regional initiatives, to facilitate the implementation of MAP measures.

THE RCC POINT OF CONTACT FOR MAP IMPLEMENTATION

Pranvera Kastrati

Pranvera Kastrati
Expert on Regional Economic Integration

Tel: +387 33 561 722
Fax: +387 33 561 701
E-mail: pranvera.kastrati@rcc.int