Head of State Rumen Radev: Albania’s European Integration Serves the Interest of the Whole Region and the EU
At a meeting with Ilir Meta in Tirana, Rumen Radev voiced our country’s expectation that a quick progress will be achieved in enforcing the rights of the Bulgarian national minority
Albania has met the criteria for launching membership negotiations with the EU and Bulgaria will continue to support its European future. This is what Head of State Rumen Radev said at a meeting with the President of the Republic of Albania Ilir Meta in Tirana. The Bulgarian President is on a state visit to Albania at the invitation of his counterpart. Rumen Radev highlighted the conclusions of the European Commission’s monitoring report on Albania’s progress in the areas of the rule of law, citizens’ rights, the reform of public administration, fighting organized crime and corruption, which give reasons to specify the date of launching negotiations on EU accession as early as the next meeting of the European Council at the end of March.
The Western Balkans’ European prospects are of key importance for the stability and security not only in Southeastern Europe, but also in the EU, the Bulgarian President said. Rumen Radev hailed Ilir Meta for the successful Albanian presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which proves that Albania deserves a more active support on its European path.
As an important criterion for achieving progress in the process of European integration, Rumen Radev highlighted the establishment of good-neighborly relations in the Balkans and the efficient enforcement of the legal provisions, which provide the opportunity for the Bulgarian national minority in the Republic of Albania to exercise its rights, particularly with respect to learning Bulgarian language. “I am sure that we will witness the successful completion of the process and of adopting all laws and regulations,” the President said and voiced our country’s expectation that the forthcoming census of the population in Albania will provide our compatriots the opportunity to freely express their will in compliance with European standards.
The meeting of the two presidents also focused on the potential for a follow-up deepening of bilateral cooperation in economy and mutual investments. More than 70 Bulgarian companies have already invested in Albania, which creates a favorable basis for expanding the economic partnership. The insufficient connectivity and also the many-year delay of the construction of Transport Corridor 8 were highlighted as the major challenge the business in the Balkans is facing. The development of the transport and railway infrastructure, achieving a higher digital and energy connectivity serves the interest not only of the business, but also of tourism. Both Rumen Radev and Ilir Meta emphasized the necessity of resuming the direct flight between Sofia and Tirana as the most efficient measure for promoting the bilateral exchange in the areas of education, science, culture and sport.
President Meta voiced his gratitude for the timely financial and expert assistance our country provided during the devastating earthquake in Albania in November 2019. The conclusions of the Bulgarian experts were most important at the follow-up donor conference for raising funds in support of the affected and restoring the destructions. Rumen Radev emphasized that some of the Bulgarian specialists that took part in the assessment of the damage caused by the earthquake are part of his delegation, as are also representatives of Bulgarian branch organizations in the area of construction, who are ready to take part in the process of restoring the town of Durres.
Taking a journalist’s question at the joint news conference regarding the tension that the increased migration pressure on the border between Turkey and Greece creates in the whole region, the Bulgarian President said that the efficient diplomatic dialogue is the most efficient means to overcome it. The Head of State emphasized that this situation creates a problem also for the security of the European citizens and requires that the EU should offer assistance not only to Turkey, but also to Greece, which protects the external European borders.
Rumen Radev recalled that three years ago, when he represented Bulgaria at the meetings of the European Council, he proposed that the European Union should work out its operational plan for protecting the external land borders and also for avoiding humanitarian crises. In his words, the European policy in this area has clear deficiencies – there is still no unified European solution of the migration issue, neither is there a built capacity or operational plan for a prompt reaction to protect the external EU borders.
Earlier Rumen Radev was welcomed with an official ceremony by the Albanian Head of State Ilir Meta.
In Tirana the Bulgarian President also held a meeting with Prime Minister Edi Rama, with whom he discussed the bilateral partnership in the defense and military training areas.
Head of State Rumen Radev also held a meeting with Parliament Speaker Gramoz Ruci and the talks focused on the legislation that regulates the rights of the Bulgarian national minority.
Later the Head of State will lay a wreath in front of the Mother Albania monument in Tirana.
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