If we had more joint border checkpoints and if they worked for 24 hours, with simplified phytosanitary and customs procedures, we could save EUR 800 million annually as a region, said the Secretary-General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), Majlinda Bregu, at the press conference held today at the border checkpoint Tabanovci between Serbia and North Macedonia.
– The RCC launched the establishment of green corridors during the blockage caused by the pandemic together with the Secretariat of the Transportation Community, CEFTA, European Commissions and the government of the six economies of the Western Balkans, whereby an unobstructed flow of goods and medicines in the region was secured. We started with a daily flow of 2,000 trucks, which waited for up to 20 hours at checkpoints. You mustn't forget that, if a truck driver lost that much time, they would spend 80% of their life at border checkpoints, which also has an economic impact, as each minute of delay costs 2 euros, so you can calculate how much we are losing as a region – Bregu said.
Bregu said that the flow at the moment was 13,000 trucks a day and that the number could be bigger.
– Truck drivers no longer have to wait so long, which showed us that, when there's cooperation, things in the region improve. We now need to work not just on joining together the 14 border checkpoints in the Western Balkans that work for 24 hours, including the phytosanitary regulations and certificates, but also on establishing joint border checkpoints between the Western Balkans and the EU member states – Bregu said.