Access to Single Market - Liberalization and integration of the Western Balkans to the European Markets.

The TWG Access to the European Single Market held its third consultation event on 30th of June where the TWG members discussed further liberalization and integration of the WB to the European Markets.

It was acknowledged that the SAAs’ free trade area between the EU and the WB countries has resulted in increased trade and market integration, making the EU a major trading partner for the WB countries. Yet due to non-tariff barriers, duplication of licenses, certificates, and other product compliances, companies from the region face difficulties in accessing the Single Market.

The TWG members took note that granting access to the EU Single Market would, in practice, require the Western Balkans candidates to align and have the institutional infrastructure and capacities to implement EU rules and standards. While these matters should be addressed in the short-term, discutients rightfully pointed out that addressing long-term issues (to implement structural reforms) would be crucial to achieving a substantial increase in exports while ensuring the WB economies are competitive in European Markets.

Political will and unequivocal commitment on political and administration levels on both sides are needed to achieve the desired end goal. Moreover, the TWG boldly underlined the role of the business community and civil society in these processes to ensure credibility and ownership of these processes.  

Further consultations will take place during the summer and a public event will be held in September.  The insights gained from the consultation events will contribute to the policy paper that will provide policy recommendations for the forthcoming summit of the Berlin Process in Tirana.

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