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The treaty aims to create a transport community between the EU and the six Western Balkan countries in south-east Europe the Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of North Macedonia (previously the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), Kosovo*, Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia.
It covers road, rail, inland waterways and maritime transport and develops a transport network.
The decision gives legal approval to the treaty which the European Commission negotiated with the EU’s south-east European partners.
The treaty lists the EU transport legislation (rail, road, maritime, inland waterways and infrastructure) and the environment, public procurement, competition and procedural rules which all parties must implement;
The EU and six south-east European countries:
give access to the infrastructure of the mentioned countries’ railway companies operating international passenger and freight services;
promote efficient, safe and secure inland waterway and maritime transport;
facilitate administrative procedures and formalities when crossing from one jurisdiction to another;
contribute to the cost of the Transport Community (the EU pays 80% and its partners 20%);
consult with each other on transport issues handled in international organisations and on regional initiatives.
The six south-east European countries must:
implement the relevant EU social, environmental and public procurement body of common law ‘acquis’;
develop efficient traffic-management systems;
promote efficient, safe and secure road transport in line with EU operating standards and policies;
ensure their state aid and competition legislation is gradually aligned with the EU acquis.
The Transport Community:
strengthens and promotes social dialogue, workers’ fundamental rights, labour laws, health and safety at work, equal opportunities and the involvement of social partners in the transport sector;
supports the trans-European transport network (TEN-T)* and produces a 5-year rolling work plan every 2 years to encourage its development and identify priority projects.
The treaty establishes:
a ministerial council to provide general policy guidelines and review progress;
a regional steering committee to administer the treaty with the power to establish technical committees;
a permanent secretariat based in Belgrade to provide administrative support and act as a transport observatory;
transitional arrangements for each of the six south-east European countries;
a review after 5 years.
FROM WHEN DOES THE TREATY APPLY?
The treaty applied provisionally from 9 October 2017 with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo* and from 29 November 2017 with Serbia.
It entered into force on 1 May 2019.
Strengthening regional cooperation with the Western Balkans is a key element for political stability, security, economic prosperity and social development in the region.
The transport community helps to promote the countries’ competitiveness by improving national systems and infrastructure, increases network efficiency and quality of service and, more generally, develops good neighbourly relations.
The treaty does not cover rules for road transportation of goods. That traffic is regulated in bilateral agreements between the EU and south-east Europe countries.
TEN-T: trans-European transport networks (TEN-T) cover road and intermodal (i.e. using multiple modes such as rail/water, road/rail) transport, waterways and seaports and the European high-speed rail network.