RCC presents draft MAP REA Implementation Monitoring Report
Tirana - Component Contact Points (CCPs) of the Multiannual Action Plan for the Regional Economic Area (MAP REA) for the Western Balkans Six (WB6) met for the second time at the meeting convened by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), in Tirana today, to discuss monitoring results and reporting on MAP REA implementation.
The meeting enabled an informed discussion on the monitoring results of the MAP REA implementation as of mid-April 2018. The participants took note and discussed the report prepared by RCC and Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) secretariats on the progress recorded by the region at objective level for all four components: Trade; Investment; Mobility; and Digital integration. The CCPs were also informed on the challenges faced during monitoring process.
The draft report presented by the RCC at today’s meeting was based on inputs received by the economies and further processed by the CEFTA and RCC secretariats. The MAP CCPs additionally contributed by providing updates on the priority activities and steps undertaken in each WB6 economy to implement the deliverables for the upcoming Western Balkans Summits in Sofia and London, later this week and on 10 of July, respectively.
To summarize, the current state of MAP REA implementation per components, as the meeting informed, is as follows:
- Investment: all WB6 economies endorsed Regional Investment Reform Agenda (RIRA) with pertinent set of policies, and agreed on Policy paper on financial markets coordination and diversification of access to finance through capital markets;
- Mobility: WB6 endorsed Recommendation to Launch the Negotiations on Mutual Recognition Agreement on Professional Qualifications;
- Digital Integration: the region has initiated structured high-level regional political dialogue on WB6 digitization through Annual WB6 Digital Summits, with the 1st WB6 Digital Summit held in Skopje on 18-19 April 2018; RCC networked the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRTs) from WB6 and extended capacity building to their representatives thus strengthening cybersecurity capacities and enhancing regional cooperation among WB6 CSIRTs; and reached an Agreement to extend current Regional Roaming Agreement (RRA) and introduce “Roam Like At Home” principle in WB6; and
- Trade: CEFTA Secretariat informed the meeting on the very good progress during the last month as CEFTA Parties have agreed to launch negotiations on a trade dispute settlement mechanism, with a view to establish a unified regional trade dispute resolution framework. Moreover, Additional Protocol on Trade Facilitation (AP5) entered into force and the ratification process in the remaining economies is progressing well.
The MAP REA endorsed by the WB6 Leaders at the Western Balkans Summit in Trieste last summer represents a strong political commitment towards the regional integration agenda. The region currently taking note of the progress achieved so far and assesses the needs and future steps to be undertaken to achieve the planned goals.
The European Commission’s Communication on the EU perspective of the Western Balkans has recognized the importance of the Regional Economic Area and put it in the core of the EU accession process. On top of that, it has also embedded a considerable number of MAP REA measures into the Enlargement Strategy’s Action Plan.