German foreign minister says 2019 won’t automatically open negotiations for Albania

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 21, 2018 07:27

German foreign minister says 2019 won’t automatically open negotiations for Albania

Story Highlights

  • Maas spoke of his good impression regarding the enthusiasm of Western Balkans citizens for the shared EU values. He said the region deserves a realistic perspective regarding accession, but he put emphasis on fulfilling the set conditions. He mentioned that what is crucial for WB countries is for the reforms on stronger democracy, judicial state and good governance to be put forward.

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TIRANA, Sept. 20 – Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that June 2019 doesn’t mean automatic opening of accession negotiations for Albania, during his meeting in Tirana with Albanian counterpart Ditmir Bushati.

“On June this year a heuristic decision was made on EU’s framework regarding a possible start of accession negotiations for Albania in 2019. It is a decision which shows evaluation for the undertaken reforms in the last years in Albania and I think that it has been a quite energetic political engagement. At the same time, as we know it, EU member states have made it clear that June 2019 is not an automatic date regarding the start of membership negotiations, the criteria is clear, there are steps or other results expected in terms of reforms that will convince the sceptics on this process,’’ said Maas.

Maas is taking a tour around the Balkans this week, following the itinerary Bucharest, Skopje, Tirana, Athens.

The aim of the visit and his agenda’s goal specifically focus on a united Europe, declaring that Europe cannot be separated into separate regions.

“Europe cannot be separated into geographic regions – there is only one Europe,” said Maas before starting the tour.

Maas spoke of his good impression regarding the enthusiasm of Western Balkans citizens for the shared EU values. He said the region deserves a realistic perspective regarding accession, but he put emphasis on fulfilling the set conditions. He mentioned that what is crucial for WB countries is for the reforms on stronger democracy, judicial state and good governance to be put forward.

On Wednesday, he stopped in Tirana to talk with Bushati regarding Albania’s EU accession negotiations, Germany’s support and expectations towards our country.

He praised the vetting reform and called it an important step in ensuring a stronger democratic state and independent judicial system with the verification of judges and prosecutors. However, he said that Germany expects Albania to make further progress in fighting corruption and organized crime and fulfill the EU conditions by achieving concrete results, so that it will fully deserve the starting of the negotiations.

“The fact that accession talks for Albania might start by June 2019 shows an evaluation for the efforts done so far,’’ said Maas. “Germany gives its political support in this direction through the commitment of high-level counselors and through the framework of various projects.”

Germany’s support and promotion to Albania’s European perspective is also motivated by its positive role in the stability of the region.

In this context, Maas referred to Albania as “the anchor for regional stability.”

Bushati said Germany’s support to Albania is irreplaceable during the visit of his German

counterpart. The comment comes in context of the generous financial assistance that Germany gives to Albania, in addition to its political support. Germany is the biggest financial donor to Albania, with around one billion dollars, which in global terms comprises the greatest financial support per capita from Germany.

The Albania-Germany economic cooperation for development, which marks its 30th anniversary this year, is described as excellent by the German Ambassador to Albania, Susanne Schütz.

In his visit in Tirana, Maas had meetings and talks with Bushati, Prime Minister, Edi Rama, opposition leader Lulzim Basha, and vetting commission representatives.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 21, 2018 07:27