Enlargement of Western Balkans at top of the agenda during EP President’s visit to Albania
Following his visit to North Macedonia in the beginning of November, European Parliament President David Sassoli will travel to Albania on February, 3-4.
Ahead of the trip to Tirana, Sassoli stated:
“I am going to Albania to encourage and give hope for the way forward after some difficult months for the country. First, I would like to reiterate my solidarity with Albania and its people following the devastating earthquake of late November. My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones. While money cannot undo the suffering, it is badly needed to reconstruct houses and infrastructure. I count on the generosity of the participants in the international donors’ conference that will be hosted by the EU in Brussels on February 17.
“Second, I want to reaffirm the European Parliament’s strong support for the opening of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia. Both countries have made huge progress, in line with our expectations. The start of negotiations could be a strong driver for the reforms that are still needed on the way to EU accession. We will do our utmost also to convince member states that still had reservations at the last Council meeting on this.
“Meanwhile, the disappointment over the Council’s non-decision, should translate into renewed energy and forward-looking initiatives. I encourage Albania to focus on the overall objective and use this time to address any concerns that have been raised, especially regarding the respect of the rule of law and the fight against organized crime and corruption. These reforms are ultimately for the best of your country and future generations. Even if the road is rocky at times, every step brings us closer to a common European future, which will enrich both Albania and the EU.”
During his visit in Tirana, President Sassoli will address the Albanian Parliament. He will meet with Prime Minister Edi Rama, the Speaker of Parliament, Gramoz Ruçi and leaders of the political groups, the President of the Republic, Ilir Meta, the mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj as well as with DP chair Lulzim Basha and SMI representative Klajda Gjosha. Sassoli will also come together and discuss with university students as well as with representatives of Think Tanks and UNICEF.