Press Releases Remarks by President Charles Michel after his meeting with Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama in Tirana

Remarks by President Charles Michel after his meeting with Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama in Tirana

Thank you Prime Minister, dear Edi Rama, for your warm welcome. It is a real pleasure to be back here in Albania.

Since my last visit in early 2020 a lot has changed: the COVID-19 crisis and Russia’s war against Ukraine. But one thing has not changed and never will. That is our firm commitment to Albania’s accession path towards the European Union.

This is a crucial moment to meet with a close ally, partner and friend. As we speak, Russia is attacking the sovereign nation of Ukraine. We have imposed five rounds of unprecedented sanctions to keep up the economic pressure on the Kremlin to severely reduce its ability to finance its war. Since day one, Europe and its allies, have stood united in support of Ukraine. I would like to thank you, dear Prime Minister, for your country’s strong support. And thank you for your work more globally, in particular this year as a member of the UN Security Council. You have been a committed and reliable EU partner and friend.

We also discussed our EU-Albania relationship. Albania is part of our European family. And the EU remains Albania’s biggest trading partner and largest provider of financial assistance. It is more important than ever to re-energise the enlargement process. Today’s challenges are forcing us to think beyond the traditional models for innovative ways of thinking and innovative ways of working. And creating new incentives for reforms to accelerate EU integration.

We are working to provide tangible benefits for all Albanians and for all our partners in the region. That means already accelerating integration now rather than waiting until accession negotiations are fully completed. In June, and you mentioned it, we will organise a meeting of the 27 EU leaders in Brussels with you and the other Western Balkan leaders. Albania has met all the conditions for opening accession negotiations. Accession talks should start as soon as possible.

Later today, I will visit the National History Museum and see the ongoing work at the Mosaic. The restoration of the Mosaic is a powerful symbol of Albania’s rich cultural heritage. And of the EU’s commitment to Albania.

After the disastrous earthquake, I said that you can count on us to help rebuild and move ahead stronger than ever. The EU raised more than 1 billion euros to help rebuild schools and other key infrastructure. You can continue to count on us. Just as we count on you.

Thank you again, dear Edi, for your warm welcome and thank you again for our close partnership and friendship. I am confident that the following weeks will be key in order, I hope, to take together the right decisions, the fair decisions that are needed in order to build our common future. Thank you.

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