23 Jan 2024

Open Balkan Initiative: Protocols Signed to Establish a Free Labor Market

Yesterday in Skopje, member countries of the Open Balkan initiative took an important step towards enhancing regional economic cooperation.  Representatives of Serbia, North Macedonia, and Albania signed two protocols aimed at establishing a free labor market between the member countries of the Open Balkan initiative.  These include the Protocol on the Implementation of the Agreement on Conditions for Free Access to the Labor Market in the Western Balkans and the Protocol on Connecting the Electronic Identification Schemes of the Western Balkans Citizens.

Representing Serbia, Gojko Stanivuković, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, signed the documents.  This demonstrates the country’s commitment to regional cooperation within the Open Balkan initiative and the region’s economic development.  The documents were also signed by the Minister for Information Society and Administration of North Macedonia, Azir Aliu, the Head of the Employment Agency of North Macedonia, Vedat Musliu, and their counterparts representing the Republic of Albania.

Officials from the relevant ministries of Albania and North Macedonia signed on behalf of their countries.  They have thus marked a collective endeavor towards a unified goal set in earlier meetings of the Open Balkan initiative.

The documents are a pivotal step towards the full liberalization of the labor market between the member countries.  The protocols are effective from March 1.  Creating a joint labor market is part of a strategic process to foster a seamless regional business environment.  The agreements aim to enhance further conditions for both domestic and international companies in the region.  The objective is to boost investment and employment opportunities across the market.  Moreover, this agreement is seen as part of the solution to the growing issue of regional labor shortages.  By establishing an open regional market, the initiative will enable the free movement of nearly 11 million people within these countries.  This will significantly increase the available workforce and talent pool.  This is beneficial for businesses seeking skilled labor and offers immense opportunities for individuals looking for employment across borders.