Tirana, 24 January 2023
On the occasion of the successful termination of the EU Presidency (1 July – 31 December 2022) the Council of Albanian Ambassadors (CAA) extends its best congratulations to the highest Czech state, government and diplomatic authorities.
The Czech Republic assumed the rotating Presidency from France in utterly difficult times, only 5 months after the unprovoked and unjustified Russian aggression against an independent and sovereign state as Ukraine; when the EU, the USA and the entire progressive community was at the helm of their demarches and projets to avoid the grave effects of this aggression for Ukraine, Europe and beyond.
Under these conditions and circumstances, upon the Czech Presidency befell the major responsibility to continue the consolidation of the political, military and diplomatic cohesion of Western Alliance. This Presidency proved to be at the height of its task, guiding and coordinating its activity with the EU Commission, Council and Parliament in the major political, economic, diplomatic and humanitarian decisions. Thus, following the 6 previous packages, in July, October and most recently on 14 December 2022, three other packages with hard economic sanctions were added against Russia.
Likewise, the Czech Presidency coordinated the major efforts, measures and reforms to overcome the grave consequences, due to the energy and food crisis caused by the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Besides measures to finally reduce and eliminate the Russian dependency, the EU reached a consensus by the end of December for a ceiling on gas price, a tangible achievement in facing up the energy crisis that has affected many western countries.
The Council of Albanian Ambassadors notices with pleasure the many events, processes and programs coordinated during the Czech Presidency to help the Ukrainian people and army in their heroic rezistence and war against Russian aggressors.
Thus, the EU provided Ukraine with additional financial aids amounting to 20 billion Euro and has planned other assistance for the near future. Conscious for the huge damages caused to the infrastructure in Ukraine estimated to be nearly 750 billion Euro, during the Czech Presidency, apart from providing multi-faceted aids, progress was also made related to the procedures of freezing the bank assets of Russian oligarchs in order to meet the reconstruction needs.
In a wider political and institutional respect, Council of Albanian Ambassadors commends the Czech Presidency, particularly in its capacity as the host of the first Summit of the new European Political Community (EPC) in Prague on 6 October 2022 with the presence of leaders from 44 EU member, candiate and non-members, including the 6 Western Balkan states. EPC is a new paneuropean political grouping, which provides a wide – reaching platform for the “promotion of politial dialogue and cooperation in dealing with issues of mutual benefit, strengthening security, stability and prosperity in the Continent”.
The Council of Albanian Ambassadors shows its highest appreciation since, albeit other major challenges in and outside the EU, the Czech Presidency showed an exceptional attention and interest for Western Balkans, encouraging and promoting the historic process of speeding up its EU accession in all areas, making in this way the much – expected historic turning point. The Summit in Prague confirmed “ Enlargement”, as a MUST, as an inalienable and irreplaceable alternative at the top of EU Agenda.
The Czech Presidency contributed to this turning point with a series of events, strategies and action plans, with clear and bold objectives, starting with EU Summits, the latter not only devoted to but also held in the Balkans! With its highlights here the EU Summit in Brussels on 29 June, the EPC in Prague on 6 October an the EU – WB Summit in Tirana on 6 December 2022.
The Council of Albanian Ambassadors appreciates the fact that these summits, visits and processes are accompanied with intensive acts, decisions and actions in search of final solutions to problems in suspense with some noticeable and promising achievements. On 18 July 2022, the accession negotiations were opened with Albania and North Macedonia. Then, on 14 December, the EU Council decided on the liberalization of visas with Kosovo, not later than the 1st of January 2024, whereas the latter on 15 December submitted to the Czech Presidency in Prague the formal application for EU Accession, as a clear message of its Euro – Atlantic course. In ther recent days, the European Council decided to offer the “Candidate” status to Bosnia – Hercegovina.
The Council of Albanian Ambassadors in its Statement on 6 December clearly pointed out that these challenges and achievements were also confirmed in the EU – Western Balkans Summit in Tirana on 6 December 2022, the first in the region and in our capital. Tirana Summit brought back to attention the special significance that keeping the doors open to the european prospect and speeding up the enlargement process with the countries in the region it has in the agenda of the highest institutions of the EU and its Member States.
On this occasion, the CAA does also extend its best greetings to the Czech Embassy in Tirana, for its qualitative work and efforts to convey the spirit and echo of its Presidency in Tirana.
Finally, Council of Albanian Ambassadors believes that on the basis of this briliant experience of the EU Czech Presidency, its successor, Sweden will continue in this track, carrying out these remarkable achivements and for the most rapid materialization of its objectives.