Berlin Process: Western Balkans leaders sign one more mobility agreement in Tirana Bregu: Another agreement prepared by the RCC signed today in Tirana
- 16 Oct 2023
Four new professions will be recognized throughout the region
Tirana – The Heads of Governments of the Western Balkans Six signed one more agreement under the Common Regional Market (CRM) Action Plan’s mobility agenda, a process facilitated by the RCC - on the recognition of professional qualifications of nurses, veterinary surgeons, pharmacists, and midwives – at the Berlin Process Summit held in Tirana today.
“The concerted efforts we put towards mutual recognition of a new set of professions, which now amount to 7 in total, fully based on EU rules – is another symbolic entry ticket to the single market as it can be a crucial step towards recognition of professional qualifications with the EU. It remains imperative though that there are no implementation and enforcement gaps and that the signatures of the agreements are promptly followed by entry into force, so that the benefits reach those intended for – our citizens,” said Majlinda Bregu, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) at the Summit.
The signing of this Agreement today comes a year after the leaders signed 3 CRM mobility agreements at the Berlin Process Summit held in German capital last year. For the 3 agreements - on Freedom of Movement with Identity Cards, on Recognition of Higher Education Qualifications, and on Recognition of Professional Qualifications for Doctors of Medicine, Dentists and Architects - only 4 out of 6 WB economies finished the internal ratification procedures.
“This Summit takes place in a deteriorating global and regional context in peril, with spiked tensions, which shake and humble us to our core. In such a context, our region is in dire need of some positive news, such as the signing of this agreement, but also the lowering of roaming between the EU and WB, effective as of this October, after almost a year since signing of the EU-WB Roaming Declaration facilitated by the RCC and European Commission,” added Bregu.
The participants of the Summit warmly welcomed the entry into force of the reduced data roaming charges between the EU and the Western Balkans and commended the RCC for its coordinating role in implementation CRM. They emphasized the importance of regional cooperation in the Western Balkans highlighting the importance of strengthening connectivity, transport, trade, energy and digital ties in the region as well as between the region and the EU. The leaders noted that further significant progress should be made in implementing the CRM and called upon RCC, CEFTA and other regional organisations to start devising the next phase.
“We are already looking ahead in order to make quantitative and qualitative leap with the new, rebooted CRM 2.0, but in order for the Western Balkans to become fully fit for EU integration, we need the same, if not even stronger and more resolute push and support, including more sizable investments, towards our green transition and protecting and valorising our nature’s beauties and potentials. Finding any silver lining in such strained global and regional contexts is all but impossible. We remain hopeful for the reinvigorated discussions for completing the Union that is fit for enlargement and for building our larger European future together. But also certain that a human-centric Europe that is adapted, reformed and more, with our region firmly in its fold – is the best investment in peace and security for the entire continent and beyond. On RCC’s side we remain eager and fully committed to continue to work hard and deliver, preparing the region to be part of the Union, as well as of every single positive development that comes as part of regional cooperation,” concluded Bregu.
With the signing of the additional mobility agreement one more obstacle to free flow of work force is removed and now 7 professions in total can have automatic recognition of qualifications: doctors of medicine, dentists and architects, nurses, veterinary surgeons, pharmacists, and midwives – which improves labour market access and increases productivity. The Agreement signed by the WB leaders in Tirana today will have to be ratified by national authorities of all WB6 and it enters into force on the thirtieth day upon deposition of the third formal notice of ratification.
The host of the next Leaders’ Summit in 2024, on the 10th anniversary of the Berlin Process, will be Germany.