Brussels: Joint press release by Western Balkan 6 Prime Ministers

    BRUSSELS, 21 APRIL 2015

    As a follow up to the Conference on the Western Balkans held in Berlin on 28 August 2014 and the WB6 Ministerial meetings in Belgrade on 23 October and in Pristina on 25 March, we, the Prime Ministers of the Western Balkans gathered in Brussels on 21 April 2015 in the presence of the European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, the European Commissioner for Transport and the Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), have adopted the following Joint Statement in order to reaffirm our commitment to connectivity, good neighbourly relations, regional cooperation and European integration:

    1. Improving regional cooperation and economic stability is one of our common tools for matching European standards and fulfilling the EU accession criteria, and the process should bring clear benefits to our citizens still before accession.

    2. We express our strong commitment to the “Berlin Process”, and remain focused on ensuring that the Summit on 27 August 2015 in Vienna will achieve concrete results based on specific investment projects.

    3. We recognise that improving connectivity within our region as well as with the EU is a key factor for growth and jobs in the Western Balkans.

    4. We accept that this common ambition will require our personal commitment and leadership.

    5. We note that in the European Union, the core network links all EU capitals, main economic centres and major EU ports. We acknowledge that extending it to the Western Balkans allows speeding up policy and regulatory reforms and concentrate efforts and investments on key corridors and interconnectors.

    6. We have agreed the core transport network for the Western Balkans as outlined in the attached table. In addition Corridor VIII Rail will be kept under review including through possible financing of preparatory studies, detailed alignments, designs and exploratory works with a view to its inclusion in the core network during the next ‘TEN T’ review.

    7. We accept that our respective National Investment Committees must establish without delay single project pipelines of priority investments, as they are preconditions for receiving IPA II support for investment co-financing.

    8. The project pipelines should reflect the fact that Projects of Energy Community Interest (PECI) are an important part of our connectivity agenda.

    9. We undertake to identify and address without delay all relevant measures such as regulatory issues, streamlining of border crossing procedures, which could bring about immediate connectivity benefits for the Western Balkan 6 participants and at a reasonable cost.

    Indicative extension of TEN-T to Western Balkans Core Network Definition Roads

    Source: Government of Montenegro