Published on: 23 May 2021

Three EU Foreign Ministers in Tirana: It is time to start negotiations with Albania

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Olta Xhaçka, welcomed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs her counterparts, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, Alexander Schallenberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Jakub Kulhanek, and that of Slovenia, Anze Logar.

Minister Xhaçka stated that the visit of her counterparts in Tirana is an indicator of their support and that of the countries they represent towards Albania's membership in the EU.

"Albania has come a difficult and long way to meet the conditions and requirements by overcoming many challenges. Although the last year has been extremely difficult, we have managed to make substantial progress in reforming the justice system, in the fight against organized crime and corruption, in expanding the perspective and legal framework of fundamental human rights and we have finally managed to develop a transparent electoral process, to bring Albania closer to its ultimate goal, EU membership. With the clear recognition of these achievements that the European Commission has made and with the support of our friends and partner countries such as Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, we have high expectations that the Council will agree to adopt the negotiating framework and hold the First Intergovernmental Conference with Albania, within the first half of the year", said the minister during the press conference.

On the other hand, the three EU ministers assessed that Albania has done everything expected and it is the EU's turn to take its step.

"Albania has come a long way, has undertaken many reforms, has done its homework and is ready to open negotiations in June. There is no reason to delay this process," said the Austrian minister.

"It is quite significant that three EU Foreign Ministers have come to Albania to show their support for Albania's path towards the EU. I take this opportunity to appreciate all the achievements that Albania has made so far, especially in two areas: justice reform and the fight against corruption and organized crime," said the Czech minister.

"Albania fulfilled its task, now it is the EU that must stand by its words, it is the right time. The next Presidency is that of Slovenia where enlargement and the WB issue will be at the top of the agenda, so Albania will have a very active interlocutor and supporter of the enlargement process," said the Slovenian minister.

 After Portugal, Slovenia will take over the Presidency of the EU Council for the next 6 months.

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