In February, the Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia ratified the Agreement on the Conditions for Free Access to the Labor Market in the Western Balkans and the Agreement on the Interconnection of Schemes for Electronic Identification of the citizens of the Western Balkans as part of the Open Balkans initiative.
Both agreements were signed in Tirana on December 21, 2021, by the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, the Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, Edi Rama.
The Agreement on the Conditions for Free Access to the Labor Market in the Western Balkans provides citizens of the three member states of the initiative with identical conditions to each member state’s local population when accessing the labor market. The Agreement on the Interconnection of Schemes for Electronic Identification of Western Balkans citizens enables the member states to obtain an identification number for access to electronic services. With the identification number, citizens gain unrestricted access to the labor market in other member states.
The benefits are reflected in that citizens of the signatory countries will not have to obtain work permits to work in one of the three countries, as well as simplified administrative procedures and the elimination of administrative costs. The Open Balkans ID number also eliminates the need for obtaining residency permits.
As these agreements are implemented in the member states of the Open Balkans, we will see first-hand the benefits and challenges that these member states’ administrative and other bodies may face. Until then, we invite you to revisit our Hitchhiker’s guide of the Open Balkans initiative from August 18, 2022 and follow us to find out what practical consequences the signed agreements will have on the Open Balkans member states.
By Vuk Lekovic, Senior Assiociate Gecic Law