Albania: Von der Leyen’s visit to Tirana completed

Albania: Von der Leyen’s visit to Tirana completed

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, concluded her visit to Albania.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and the official delegation was received by Prime Minister Edi Rama at the Palace of Brigades.

The Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama said in the joint conference that was held in the reconstructed school in Qerek of Kruja, with the President of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen said that the aid provided by the EU, at the time when Albania was hit by the earthquake of 26 November, was great.

She said among other things, that this shows the interest that the European Union has in Albania, while adding that the reconstructed school is one of the 16 schools that will be built thanks to the fund issued by the EU.

“Today we welcome with a very special pleasure, the President of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen at an important moment for the progress of Albania in the EU, but also for the common challenges of humanity and the communities themselves within Europe, such as the fight against the pandemic , the battle with climate change that has brought unwanted news to us in the environment in which we live, which we have seen with the threatening fires that have increased significantly around the world, especially in this part of Europe. I believe that today they see with their own eyes that the reconstruction is bringing a new quality in their lives and the lives of their children, in a process that continues and where step by step all the wounds of that unforgettable tragedy are being closed. At this point I want to emphasize the fact that this is not the protocol visit of one of the highest authorities in Europe, but it is also the visit of a woman who is personally committed with all her heart and energy to put all the capacity of the task covering in support of those families, those children, those who came out very affected by the earthquake.

For this reason, I extend a fraternal and sincere thanks for everything she has done since receiving the news of the earthquake. This is one of the 16 schools built thanks to conference funds and especially from the EC donation fund, this is actually a quarter of the schools that will be built and are in the process of construction. So, here we are in a country that is a living testimony of solidarity, of the spirit of cooperation, friendship and the truth of this relationship with the EU. We also talked about integration, we talked about the absurd situation that Albania is facing at the moment as a result of Bulgaria’s veto of North Macedonia, as a hostage situation, where the countries have performed all their duties. Von der Lyen is an unwavering advocate of the process and is one of those who are convinced of the strategic nature of the Western Balkans in the EU,” Rama said.

EC President Von der Leyen said that her goal is to hold the first intergovernmental conference on the EU and Albania within this year.

“We have worked hard for the opening of this first government conference and I reiterate that you have done your homework. We will do everything to overcome those difficulties and obstacles. I hope we start with the first intergovernmental conference before the end of 2021. That is my goal,” she said.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in a press conference together with the Prime Minister Edi Rama, said that the EU will invest 600 million euros this year.

“We have put 9 billion euros on the table. You are the ones who make project proposals so that we can reach and bring in more than 20 billion more investments. We have already invested 500 million euros, I am pleased to say that we will invest another 600. ‘We are cooperating with each other to create jobs and connect the region. We are cooperating with each other, we are cooperating as a partner by identifying the best projects, creating jobs, I mean that for Albania we will work for the rehabilitation of Tirana-Durrës-Podgorica and Fierza. These two are projects, you have proposed them,” said the EC president.

Prime Minister Edi Rama during the joint conference with the President of the EC, Ursula von der Leyen, said that Albania’s membership in the EU no longer depends on them.

He added that the decision to convene the first intergovernmental conference is being held hostage by a third country, which is angry with a country that is waiting to join, meaning North Macedonia.

Rama underlined that Albania’s task now is to wait calmly and move forward with good deeds.

“The President said before and reiterated that she has an objective that before the end of the year, the first intergovernmental conference will finally be held where Albania will formally start membership negotiations. As for me, I have said it before and I repeat it, I do not bet on any date, on any deadline. We are lucky to be in the center of Europe. It is a blessing for our children growing up in the middle of this continent and a wall separates us from the best space that is the EU. This is our destiny, our blessing and we will continue to use the knowledge of the EU, its experience, the support of the EU, through the process. The European Commission thinks that Albania has done its duty in relation to the EU, in relation to itself and the future, we have many things to do and we should not lose patience and hope, but we must move forward “, said Rama./ibna