Ambassador Reinke participated in a roundtable hosted by the University of Montenegro’s Faculty of Economics on June 3, 2022 which explored the challenges and the opportunities facing the Western Balkans in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s brutal war on Ukraine.
In her remarks, Ambassador Reinke reiterated that the U.S. vision for the Western Balkans remains a region at peace with itself and its neighbors, and one that is stable, prosperous, and well-integrated into Europe and the Euro-Atlantic framework. She highlighted that robust and fully inclusive regional initiatives which are consistent with EU rules and shared values – such as the Open Balkan Initiative and Common Regional Market – can help to bring the entire Western Balkan region closer to the EU single market and eventual membership. She added that their focus on free movement of people, capital, goods, and services is fundamental to the region’s efforts to unlock sustainable economic growth, counter malign influence, and staunch the outflow of its citizens seeking better opportunities outside the region. Ultimately, for these initiatives to seize the current moment and be truly transformative, they must be transparent, unified, and demonstrate concrete success.