The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the EU Delegation to Albania held the Conference “Together Towards European Union: Recognizing Past Experience and Creating Partnerships for the Future”. The conference was conceived in two panels: “Recognizing past experience” and “Creating partnerships for the future”. In his speech, Minister Bushati underlined that for Albania, the European project is essentially a union project within itself. According to him, the European project is the project that the overwhelming majority of Albanians see as a project of peace, security and prosperity, but above all, they see it as a project of democratic governance for them. For the head of Albanian diplomacy, the European project coincides not only with the modernization and transformation of our society but also with the consolidation of our European identity as a nation
The President of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, accompanied by Vice President and Minister of Defense, Radmila Sekerinska, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Dimitrov and State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Viktor Dimovski , met Monday with the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy and the Deputy EC President, Federica Mogherini, chaired by EU Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, Samuel Zbogar. High Representative of the EU Mogherini said at the meeting that the main message that she conveys is congratulations to Prime Minister Zaev personally to the Government, the opposition, the Parliament and the citizens, for the received clear recommendation to start Macedonia’s EU membership talks.
This, as High Representative Mogherini said, is the result of a well-done job in overcoming the political crisis achieved in the reform process, constructive policies with all political actors and the opposition, good neighborly relations, and that all these processes should continue through implementation of the reforms and the further unification of all, around the national and strategic goals of the state. In a press release, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Mogherini announced the EU’s assessment that the Republic of Macedonia has been restored on the European Union’s path, unlike a year ago, that a great deal has gone by, that the pure recommendation is the result of the joint work and that the government and the opposition should retain the forces to work together in the next steps.
The European Union foreign policy chief said preserving Iran nuclear deal is vital for the European bloc. Federica Mogherini told reporters on Monday ahead of the bloc’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg. “On the Iran deal, we’re doing all we can to work with our American friends to make sure that all parties stay fully committed to the full implementation of the agreement,” Mogherini was quoted by European External Action Service (EEAS) as saying. “As it is the case so far as we know the last joint commission that we chaired was positive, everybody recognized that Iran is fully compliant with its nuclear commitments as has been confirmed by the IAEA for 11 times,” she said.
“Let me add that preserving the agency credibility is crucial especially in a time when we enter maybe hopefully, some interesting discussions with DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea]. So work is ongoing and we believe it would be essential to stay united in this,” she noted. The top EU diplomat continued, “Let me also add the Europeans have always made it clear for us that keeping the agreement in place is vital. It is a strategic interest for the EU and we will stick to it.” On the sanctions, the top official said, “I do not foresee any decision to be taken today on this. As you know, we have already sanctions in place on Iran – non-nuclear related. I do not expect [foreign] ministers to take decision on this today.”
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Macedonia, Zoran Zaev, met with Thomas Gerberich, Ambassador of the Republic of Germany to the Republic of Macedonia.The meeting welcomed the reform steps of the Republic of Macedonia and the good neighborly relations that lead to the realization of the strategic Euro-Atlantic goals of the country. German Ambassador Gerberich conveyed support from the Republic of Germany for the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the Republic of Macedonia, informing that Macedonia has the majority support from the German Bundestag for joining the country in the European Union. Ambassador Gerberich announced that the German Bundestag MPs returned to Germany with positive impressions of the visit to Macedonia for the constructive policies through which the issues important for the progress of the Republic of Macedonia are being addressed.
Germany’s ambassador to Tirana, Susanne Schütz says that the successful implementation of the justice reform is an important signal, first of all for the people in Albania who want to see progress in the irreversible transformation of Albania over democracy and the rule of law in its road to EU membership.
During a joint reception with the EU Delegation and the EU countries participating in the EURALIUS consortium – it is a European Union project for technical support to justice bodies aiming to approximate their operational capability to EU standards -, the German diplomat thanked the EURALIUS IV mission (European Assistance Mission to the Albanian Justice System).
Finally the Ambassador voiced the conviction that the Vetting process is the key to overcoming the widespread corruption and a more effective fight against criminality in Albania.
Successful reforms in Albania, highlighting justice reform in particular, make this country the best example for the countries in the region who want to advance on the path of integration.
This is how the international politics and business magazine “IntelliNews” writes, which during the analysis of the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries states that the EU has received solid achievements in its reform efforts and progress on the path of membership.
High Representative for Foreign Policy and European Commission Vice President Federica Mogherini are quoted as saying that “the EU needs this pro-European energy of Albania within the European Union”.
Johannes Singhammer of the Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria knows Albania very well. For years, Bavaria and CSU have been engaged with Albania since the country was first projected as a potential candidate for EU membership in 2000: he said that Albania is a secular country, where different religious communities live in harmony with one another. Finally he underlined that the country is a full member of NATO since 2009 and is now a consolidated part of the values of the Western community, adding that Albania is actively participating in security operations in line with the common foreign and security policy of the EU and currently has a presence in Mali and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Joint Program of the European Union (EU) and the Council of Europe “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey” is of great importance for Bosnia and Herzegovina because it is approaching the EU and helps it meet EU standards, especially in the field of the rule of law and the fight against discrimination. The total budget of the program is 25 million euros, of which the EU has provided 20 million and the Council of Europe five million.
This program implemented in BiH has four projects: two projects initiated last year, “Human Rights Program for detainees and prisoners” and “Capacity building program for the ombudsman institution for the fight against discrimination”, and two introduced this year, namely “Quality Education in Multiethnic Societies” and “Program for the Rights of National Minorities”. The Horizontal Facility program has been crucial for the implementation of reforms that are in line with the Council of Europe monitoring and EU standards monitoring bodies, and to be implemented in areas that treat prisons, police and the fight against discrimination in BiH.
The President of the Montenegrin European Movement Momčilo Radulović believes that the abolition of the Ministry of European Affairs should not cause harm or cause a stalemate in the integration process, but that the current situation should be resolved as soon as the EU will not tolerate indecision on the path of European integration.
Radulović claimed that what the EU is thinking about this situation must not be ignored, because it is even more important that Montenegro does not endanger the speed and quality of its integration process and overall internal reforms. He further claimed that Montenegro is still in advantage over competitors from the Western Balkans, but no one will tolerate the indecision or unwillingness to solve these unexpected problems on the path of EU integration for a long time.
President of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) Milo Đukanović, at the opening of the Conference “Meeting the EU-Western Balkans Summit” organized by DPS along with the European Socialists Party (PES), claimed that the centuries-old interweaving of the great global powers in the Balkans threatens to endanger the countries in the region. Indeed, according to Đukanović, more EU in the Balkans means a faster level of integration and the EU needs to make stronger efforts to tackle problems beyond its borders. On this premises, President of the PES Sergei Stanishev claimed that it was wrong of President of the European Commission (EC) Jean-Claude Juncker, at the beginning of his term, to affirm that there would be no EU enlargement during his mandate. Indeed, according to Stanishev, without the Balkans, the enlargement process would not be complete. EU accession is not only a formal process, continued Stanishev, it is already a difficult process that requires mutual efforts and concrete solutions.
Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdoğan said on March 26 it would be a “grave mistake” for Europe to not include Turkey in the expansion of EU. According to Erdogan, Turkey’s operations against terrorism not only contribute to the security of Turkey and the Syrians but also to the security of Europe. Erdogan added that Turkey and EU have taken the first step of restoring confidence, but it has to be taken in concrete terms. Regarding visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, Erdoğan said Ankara had submitted the necessary paperwork and that was hoping the process to update the customs union with the EU would begin. Erdoğan also addressed the issue of Cyprus, saying that the involvement of Turkey is in accordance with international law.
About the negotiations on immigration, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker vowed to be a “guarantor” of the continuation of Turkey-EU negotiations, saying that it showed “visible results.” For his part, European Council President Donald Tusk stressed the good cooperation between Turkey and the EU in certain areas, although it “is going through difficult times.” Tusk thanked Turkey for its stance on migration and support for refugees. Tusk pointed to Turkey’s good bilateral relations with EU member states, adding that the EU “stands united behind the Republic of Cyprus regarding its right to explore and exploit its natural resources in its Exclusive Economic Zone.”