08 July 2019
On 3th of July, SAGOV project was presented in the Western Balkans Summit in Poznań, in the Think Tanks Forum aiming to discuss the achievements and challenges facing the new European Commission linked to the EU’s enlargement policy and the development of the Berlin Process. Mr. Ardian Hackaj, SAGOV Coordinator shared some initial findings of the project with researchers and policy-makers from EU and the Western Balkans.
By bringing in the big picture the notion of multi-dimensional connectivity, Cooperation and Development Institute and its SAGOV partners used the data and information produced by the project supported by INTERREG IPA CBC Italy Albania Montenegro to develop the concepts of Criticality and of Cost of connectivity in Western Balkans.
Mr. Hackaj brought the case of Albania to illustrate the role that the structure of external trade plays on prioritization of connectivity investments.
SAGOV results show that Puglia Region is the closest geographical connection of Albanian economy with the EU market through TEN-T network. Core Pugliese ports of Bari and Taranto are the entry gate for Albania to the TEN-T Scandinavian – Mediterranean corridor.
The maritime distance is many times shorter than road that link Tirana to Corridor X. The required infrastructure investments where Albania needs to invest – focused only on the core ports of Durrës, and comprehensive ports Vlora and Shëngjin -, are incomparably smaller as compared with road infrastructure needed to go through the Balkans to join Corridor X.
Moreover the structure of trade exchanges and the composition of Albanian foreign trade overwhelmingly favours prioritization of the maritime transport, and with Italy. Albania’s biggest export remain minerals and circa 75% of all trade goes through Durres Port, while Italy is the country’s biggest trading partner (48% of imports and 28% of exports).
The completion of Trans Adriatic Pipeline adds energy connectivity to the whole picture. The next Western Balkans Summit will be presided by North Macedonia and Bulgaria. Both countries have a strategic interest in Corridor VIII. In this optic, SAGOV project becomes even more relevant in improving and enhancing connectivity in South Adriatic Area.
More photos are available in the Facebook page.