Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s initiative to create a so-called “small Schengen” between Albania, Macedonia and Serbia, as countries in the region too small to influence economic indicators in Europe, has been a topic of concern this past week. A few days ago, the Serbian President announced that the Prime Ministers of Macedonia and Albania would attend a meeting dedicated to the removal of customs barriers on October 9 and 10 in Serbia, or, as noted, initiated the idea of further removing the various barriers to doing business on the territory of the three countries and the free flow of goods, people and services, or the creation of a kind of “small Schengen”.
Under the pretext that economic association is important and that this is purely economic interest for our countries to remove customs and trade barriers, a new isolation is advocated in the micro-region where Belgrade will lead Skopje and Tirana to economic prosperity. For Serbia we have an excellent geostrategic position and it is important for Serbia to have access to Greece and the Albanian ports. But what will Macedonia have in this concept, besides access to a closed system of 3 states that instead of being integrated into the EU, will be convinced that this solution is great. When we border the EU to the east and the south, it would be logical to prioritize that cooperation and integration into the EU’s single economic market.
At a time when we are conditioned at NATO’s door and with the prospect of launching negotiations with the European Union, the idea of getting into a “small Schengen” economic divide with Serbia, which has different commitments from Macedonian foreign policy, is especially strange in joining the North Atlantic Alliance. while Macedonia’s EU and NATO commitments are more than clear. On the other hand, Albania in all EU reports is a step behind Macedonia in its progress and this direction of taking steps for common economic action would not significantly contribute to our faster development.
As if we were not sufficiently segregated in the ghetto of the Western Balkans, we will now isolate ourselves in an even smaller format into a “small Schengen”, with the illusion that we will flourish economically. After a retrograde view of this has not been offered for a long time, a small Schengen for Serbia, Macedonia and Albania is an idea that should go away before it is born.
Why make such micro-economic alliances when our aim is to implement the structural economic reforms needed to become part of the European Union’s single economic market, rather than waiting forever at the EU’s doorstep as wild meat clears from integration with consolation? that we are part of some “little Schengen”. No, thanks.