Albania welcomed the Western Balkans Digital Ministerial Meeting as the closing of the third Digital Summit.
Welcoming the work of this summit today, Prime Minister Edi Rama said that “this is an initiative implemented in the framework of the Berlin Process and the Multiannual Regional Economic Area Action Plan (MAP REA) for the Western Balkans”.
The Albanian Prime Minister called for regional commitment to a common digital agenda, in line with the best practices of the EU digital single market, to provide more opportunities and facilities to the citizens and businesses of the Western Balkans.
“During these times and these days, it has become very clear that this digital summit is not just a conference like all others and nothing but an event on our calendar, but it is rather part of an ongoing process focusing on interconnection between our countries’ citizens”, said Rama.
He stressed that “now as we speak, we are witnessing pivotal moments for our future in many ways, but there is no doubt that the digital aspect is absolutely one of the key parameters in our way forward”.
“Digital society embodies the greatest challenge of this century but also the greatest means of creating an environment where people can live in a different space of freedom, responsibility and equality. I am grateful to the German Government for expressing its readiness to assist this summit both in the preparatory phase and during the working sessions. Many things will arise as a result of the commitments made in this case, in particular the two memoranda of understanding to be signed; one for the 5G digital transformation of the region and the other one for the interconnection of the region with reliable services in the Western Balkans”, said Rama.
Rama noted that “these are not just two memoranda of understanding, but they are two great commitments for all of us that largely determine our common future”.
As he argued, “digital cooperation is an integral part of the Berlin Process package”.
“Following the announcement of the EU digital agenda and in the context of the pandemic, this cooperation seems to be even more important and vital for all of us. Both of these digital summits are part of the Berlin Process and help reduce the gaps in the Western Balkans, as well as strengthen our links to meet the EU standards, not only individually but also collectively, to make this country a state where the 4 freedoms of Europe are implemented without waiting to become EU members”, Rama added.
“There is no doubt that we have many problems that need to be addressed and resolved, but it is absolutely clear that the countries of the Western Balkans have accepted this challenge and are working to influence the common vision as positively as possible on an individual level for the implementation of a single market in the region, despite the understandable difficulties”, Rama said.
He added that it was not easy, but today they had an even bigger agreement on the Schengen area and that was a great achievement. “Completing the process of abolishing roaming tariffs should be part of our goal and what we should work on every day. What happened with the gradual change of roaming tariffs and the regulation of mobile roaming markets constitutes proof of what we can and should do”, Rama said.
The Prime Minister stressed that “nothing prevents us from turning this corner of Europe into a center of digital services and electronic infrastructure”.
“Based on the memorandum of understanding for the 5G network, we can move forward quickly. Coordinating the implementation of clean and secure 5G technology, as well as the preparation of interregional agreements as a necessary consideration for the consolidation of licenses, will be a very big step”, Rama said.
The Prime Minister also focused on the digital revolution in Albania, on which he stated that “Albania has invested a lot and with great intensity to overcome another era in terms of digital services for citizens”.
“By the end of this year, 95% of government services will be online, free of charge. Every citizen can benefit from these services by saving so much time, delay and a significant amount of money that has been spent so far to benefit from these services. I do not dare to imagine what we could have done had the pandemic struck us at another time, without the opportunity to give citizens access to the Internet through e-Albania”, Rama said. /ibna