Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Gent Cakaj had an official visit to Bratislava, where he was received by the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Miroslav Lajčák.
This was the first official visit made by an Albanian minister to Slovakia over the span of two decades.
The meeting revolved around bilateral relations, integration into the EU, cooperation in the framework of the OSCE, and regional cooperation.
During the meeting, the friendly relations between the two countries were highlighted, and it was recognised that possibilities of strengthening economic cooperation through the approval of the legal framework and the hosting of the joint economic commission’s first meeting built around identification of areas of shared interest, including infrastructure, energy, railways, agriculture, and water management, have not yet been exhausted.
Additionally, both Ministers agreed that closer cooperation is also required at the regional level, with the focus being particularly on using the cooperation-specific capacities in the framework of the Visegrád Group, of which Presidency is held by Slovakia, through the mechanisms of the Visegrád International Fund and the Western Balkans Fund.
Regarding the OSCE, both Ministers, being members of the OSCE Troika, exchanged views about the Organisation, and Acting Minister Cakaj advised the present OSCE Chairman of Albania’s preparations to hold the OSCE Chairmanship in 2020, and lead the Mediterranean Contact Group.
Acting Minister Cakaj reconfirmed the commitments made by the Government of Albania to continue to contribute to the achievement of the Organisation’s main goals in 2020, to which effect Minister Lajčák also expressed willingness to offer the experience and expertise of Slovakia, being the country holding the present OSCE Chairmanship.
In terms of European integration, Minister Lajčák said that Slovakia remains a strong advocate of the enlargement process, and Albania’s integration into the EU, while considering the Western Balkans important for the purpose of addressing some of the challenges the EU is faced with currently.
Acting Minister Cakaj advised his counterpart of the progress of reforms in Albania concerning the five key priorities, and its expectation for a positive decision in upcoming June. The Ministers shared the idea of the impact of the continued enlargement process on the process of reforms, and the establishment of the credibility of the enlargement process itself among the aspiring countries.
During his stay in Bratislava, Acting Minister Cakaj was also received by the Deputy Speaker of the Slovak Parliament Béla Bugár, and had a working meeting with the members of two parliamentary committees for foreign policy and European affairs presided by Katarina Cefalyova. The meetings were indicative of the Slovak parliamentarians’ willingness that the Commission opens without delay negotiations with Albania.