Another step in cooperation with Western Balkans

Meeting with representative of Transport Community is the forecast to tighten our cooperation and to plan future common activities.


In the CELBET management meeting in Warsaw, on 6-7 of March, Mr Mate Gjorgjievski from Transport Community participated. Regarding to the contact with Transport Community previously developed by CELBET Cooperation Team, the intention of Mr Gjorgjievski visit was to discuss the points dedicated to one of the pillar of the EU  Growth Plan for the Western Balkans – opening European market to the Western Balkans by cooperation on customs. At the beginning of the meeting Mr Mate Gjorgjievski said:

“Developing border crossing points is in high interest of Transport Community and transport facilitation is one of the most prominent factor. Border crossing points on Western Balkans challenge in infrastructure, human resources and I know that CELBET experts could bring added value and help us to facilitate transport and trade”

Head of CELBET Andras Bartha, highlighted the meaning of cooperation with Western Balkans countries and pointed out that it is one of the priorities of CELBET efforts, as from the beginning, CELBET management is following EU Growth Plan for Western Balkans and declared readiness for support the activities within the Plan:

“You mentioned some challenges what customs administrations are facing, I think there is no big difference between EU MS customs challenges and third countries challenges, but the biggest benefit of EU is that 27 MS can work together, think together and can share good practices and solutions. We have a background in the field of cooperation with Moldova and Ukraine and these countries benefited much from some of our activities and products and that’s why I am sure that this can be area of potential, especially that we work mostly in the field of effective training programs based on real needs of customs officers, Diagnostic Study that helps to develop border crossing points and more activities related to capacity building”.


What CELBET can offer Transport Community ?

  • continuation of seminars and workshops in the area of border crossing points management:
  • raising awareness of transport and trade facilitation instruments and modern IT solutions existing in EU countries;
  • enhancing the capacities of border staff;
  • tailored trainings,
  • providing rules/examples of agreements between institutions and border management services,
  • equipment procurement and standards for equipment;
  • Diagnostic Study tool;
  • sharing best practices related to BCPs on the EU external border strip;
  • raising visibility of common activities and cooperation results

“I see this as an opportunity to do it like a dialogue. You can help us in these joint efforts to facilitate and ease transport and trade. I look forward to continue our cooperation”- Mate Gjorgjievski explained.

The goal is common

The economic success of states, the efficiency of their imports and exports, and the amount of income they receive, meaningfully depend on the efficiency of BCPs work. At the same time the border crossing point is the first line of ensuring the safety and security for each state. Nevertheless the success of customs depends on the right balance between the speed of procedures and the effectiveness of inspection. In order to achieve such a balance at the BCPs, it is necessary to introduce control levers, which will help identify weaknesses and appropriately respond in a timely manner.

“The goal is common: to develop border crossing points to make fast and effective. We can not make a compromise on the safety and security field” – Andras Bartha underlined.

The countries of the EU with external land border have been actively working last years to improve the work of their border crossing points in order to ensure the same effective level of performance of all BCPs. For this purpose, CELBET has managed to analyse and develop many tools that help to make border checkpoints more efficient. Ensuring smooth trade and effective border control is still the main goal of all parties involved in the cooperation initiative.


How did it start ?

Background of cooperation with Transport Community

The cooperation between CELBET and Western Balkans, has started at the end of 2021 from informal contacts between representatives of Romanian Customs and representatives of Western Balkans. That helped to established more formal and bilateral cooperation.

Romanian colleague, a member of CELBET, was asked to present some CELBET activities during CEFTA meeting dedicated for BCP facilitations. That was the incipience of the cooperation with the key partner of Western Balkans  – Transport Community. It is an international organization in the field of mobility and transport. It has 36 participants – the European Union Member States represented by the European Commission, 6 South East European Parties (the Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, and the Republic of Serbia) and 3 observing participants (Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine).

Transport Community works on integrating Western Balkans’ transport markets into the EU by assisting 6 Western Balkans partners in adopting and implementing the EU legislation in the transport field and supporting projects connecting Western Balkans regional partners among themselves and with the EU.

So far, CELBET Cooperation team experts took part in several initiatives related to Western Balkans and  Transport Community:

  • 23rd Meeting of the CEFTA Subcommittee on Customs and Rules of Origin in Podgorica, Montenegro, (Hybrid meeting, 20.03.2022) in Montenegro
  • 10th Transport Facilitation Technical Committe meeting (Hybrid meeting, 29.03.2022),
  • International Trade Facilitation Forum highlighting the importance of Moldova as a key bridge for EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes (October 2022).
  • EU-WB6 BCPs training workshops at Summer School in Ohrid (3-7 July 2023) aiming at raising awareness of the relevant authorities for transport and trade facilitation instruments.


As a result of effective cooperation and fruitful, tailored arrangements, the Transport Community created concept of the Training Programme. Basing on a long and proven experience of CELBET experts, Transport Community decided that CELBET Cooperation Team, would participate in series of workshops.  Experts form Estonia, Greece, Poland and BCP Network Representative from Estonia from September till November 2023, have provided  series of training workshops for the border agencies at EU-WB6 BCPs.

The events were envisaged as working meetings for the authorities of two neighbouring parties (EU and Western Balkans) in order to understand the specific issues encountered at each BCP and identify possible solutions within capacity building.