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(DF) Berlin Process Sofia Summit: Western Balkans Leaders Sign Declaration on Regional Common Market, Green Agenda

November 10 (BTA) - During the Berlin Process 2020 Sofia Summit on Tuesday, the leaders of the Western Balkan countries signed declarations for a regional market and for a green agenda, said the government press office on Tuesday. The forum was held by video conference, with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and North Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev participating in person. Bulgaria and North Macedonia share the Presidency of the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans. The two documents are a serious success for the joint Presidency of the Berlin Process because they pool the efforts of the Western Balkan countries for fuller adoption of the EU standards the Bulgarian government press office said. The regional common market aims to connect the economies of the Western Balkans through free movement of people, goods, services and capital. The declaration encourages the creation of regional digital, industrial, investment and innovation connections. The green agenda declaration is in line with EU efforts to fight climate change, protect the environment and unlock the potential for a green, circular and low-carbon economy in the region. By signing the document, the Western Balkan countries commit to action in five key areas: climate, energy, mobility; circular economy; cleaner air, water and soil; sustainable farming and food production; and bio-diversity. It will allow the countries in the region to be active participants involved in the development of EU policies rather than just implementing them, the government press office said. Prime Minister Zoran Zaev commented that the better connection of the economies in the region and the EU calls for a strong commitment by the countries in the region to carry through reforms, strengthen regional economic integration and develop a regional common market based on the achievements of EU law, in order to make the region more attractive for investment. After the summit, Prime Minister Borissov said that the signing of the Sofia declaration for a green agenda is a promise for a European-style action and care for the environment. The aim of the declaration for a common market is to make sure the region's population of some 20 million people receive much higher incomes and choose to remain to live in this region, he added. Borissov thanked German Chancellor Angela Markel for trusting Bulgaria and North Macedonia with the joint presidency. PM Borissov: Bulgaria is firmly committed to the region's development Opening the Berlin Process 2020 Sofia Summit, Borissov said there is a deeply symbolic meaning in the fact that Bulgaria and North Macedonia jointly host the Presidency of the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans. This is the first such case in which the host status is shared between an EU member state and a non-EU country of the Western Balkans, demonstrating Bulgaria's firm commitment to the region's development, Borissov said, as quoted by the government's press service. Despite the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Sofia and Skopje have pooled their efforts to implement the priorities of the Berlin Process Presidency, he said. He finds it particularly important to launch a common regional market, a green agenda for the Western Balkans and other initiatives which will contribute to cooperation and mutual understanding in the region. "We would like to see that the Berlin Process pays special attention to the development of infrastructure connectivity in the region, because it is the circulatory system of the Balkans that keeps businesses and individuals alive," the Bulgarian Prime Minister said. The participants in the Berlin Process 2020 Sofia Summit included Western Balkan leaders, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Ministers Giuseppe Conte of Italy, Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece, Andrej Plenkovic of Croatia, Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland and Janez Jansa of Slovenia. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles, European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, Regional Cooperation Council Secretary General Majlinda Bregu, representatives of the Central European Free Trade Agreement, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank and the Regional Youth Cooperation Office were among the speakers at the online summit. Addressing the forum, Angela Merkel congratulated the participating countries for their process towards building a regional market and adopting a green agenda. She said that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the countries should not forget that climate change remains a major challenge. She also encouraged them to prompote cooperation in research. She invited the Western Balkan leaders to Berlin for the next Berlin Process summit in 2021. RI/VE/LN/ /DT/ 11 Νοέμβριος 2020, 08:00

πηγή: BTA Free News

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