Zaev and Brnabikj on Tabanovce/Preshevo: We implement best European practices, joint border management and customs control for better exchange of information, mitigation of trade, drastic decrease in corruption and reinforcement of regional security

Today the Prime Ministers of North Macedonia and Serbia, Zoran Zaev and Ana Brnabikj, accompanied by ministers of both governments as well as by highest officials from the institutions for border and customs management of both countries, on the joint event which was part of the official visit of a delegation of the Government of Republic of Serbia, launched the concept One stop-shop – joint border and customs management. This concept envisages that there will be only one stopping on the border crossing Tabanovce/Preshevo.

The President of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, stated that both governments are meeting yet another obligation undertaken in the project for integration of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Republic on Serbia on both regional and European level. This shared border crossing Tabanovce-Preshevo, said Prime Minister Zaev, which envisages joint border and customs management with only one stop, shows that the countries give their substantial contribution towards development of the Regional Economic Area on Western Balkans, and what is also significant, is proof of the friendship and good-neighborliness between both countries.

In 2018 about 200,000 transport vehicles have passed the border-crossing Tabanovce. This is one quarter of the total traffic of freight vehicles. It is expected that this number will increase by 30% and this year to reach the number of 260,000 trucks.

“Alongside the completion of the road infrastructure on both sides of the highway, the construction and expansion of the customs terminal on this border crossing, this is the last phase of creating conditions for increased exchange of goods and free movement of citizens. Greater exchange of goods shall mean exchange of ideas, experiences, achievements and better life for the citizens. The new one stop-shop concept improves the flow of passengers, goods and vehicles. This will reduce the time spent for border crossing by more than half and thus, will contribute to increase the number of tourists between the two countries, as well as the number of transit tourists”, underlined Prime Minister Zaev.

Furthermore, he added that this will reduce the time consumed by the customs procedures – controls will be conducted in one place by the customs services, and it foresees mutual acceptance of certificates from border agencies, both phitosanitary and veterinary.

“This One-stop-shop will reduce the possibilities for customs frauds due to the direct inspection of commercial documents that accompany the goods; it will increase the trust, cooperation and exchange of information, thus mitigating the trade. Moreover, it will decrease the possibility for corruption and will reinforce the stability and security in the region. I am convinced that the joint controls performed on the border crossing Tabanovce-Preshevo will set an example for successful and close cooperation” – emphasized Prime Minister Zaev and added that the projections and analysis show that the One-stop-shop and the digitalization of customs services will provide the carriers and exporters savings of about 8 mil EUR; exports shall have potential for increase by 4%; the foreign trade exchange might grow by about 5.5% while the number of tourists shall increase by about 8%.

Prime Minister Zaev in his address expressed his gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Serbia and Prime Minister Brnabikj, as well as the President of Serbia, Vuchikj, for their exception cooperation on this project. He said that this confirms that both countries are leader in the region in the realization of the project for Regional Economic Cooperation of countries from Western Balkans while promoting European values and practices, as a contribution to the EU membership. The European Union itself supported the funding of the construction of customs terminal together with World Bank and the International Financial Corporation.

The President of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Ana Brnabikj, underlined that this event reaffirms the fact that Serbia is focused on the future relations of both countries and that these two will remove all barriers that will assist the growth of economic activity and cooperation for better connectivity of the people and economis of Serbia and North Macedonia.

Prime Minister Brnabikj stated that both countries understood the problems and costs of the two countries’ economies arising from excessive administrative procedures and that from now on, they will focus on the well-being of the citizens and business people by promoting partnerships for efficient cooperation.

The event for official launching of the One-stop-shop concept for joint border and customs management Tabanovce/Preshevo, was attended by the Executive Director of the Economic Chamber of Macedonia, Biljana Peeva Gjurikj and the President of the Economic Chamber of Serbia, Marko Chadezh. They assessed the establishment of joint border management Tabanovce/Preshevo as an excellent step in mitigation of the flow of goods, thus alleviating the business and the customs measures in the region, all in accordance with the international recommendations and agreements. They both underlined that the business community expects that the introduction of one-stop-shop system on border crossings will become practice with other countries, too.