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Caught in the middle of it – Does Open Balkan makes sense for North Macedonia?

The Open Balkans as an initiative of the leaders of Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia since its launching in 2019 has been in the spotlight of the public discussions in the Western Balkans, as well as the more broadly in the EU. The initiative has been accompanied with much debate as to its potential, the motives behind its launching as well as its implications for the broader regional political and economic developments. This paper examines the Open Balkans initiative from the perspective of North Macedonia the paper is structured in six sections and is based on desk analysis of primary and secondary information.
It first deals with the support for the Open Balkans initiative from the public and the elites in the country. The second section deals with the accomplishments of the initiative and the results in terms of the four freedoms in.
The paper then moves on to examine how the Open Balkans initiative has affected the bilateral relations of North Macedonia with other countries in the region on the political and economic level. The next two sections examine the relationship of the Open Balkans with other regional cooperation initiatives, especially the Berlin process, as well as the relationship of the initiative to the broader process of European integration. The last section presents the conclusions and reflects from the national point of view whether the Open Balkans can contribute to the process of reconciliation and normalization of relations.

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