Tirana, on December 7, 2022
Yesterday, Albania hosted in Tirana the first Summit outside the European borders between the EU and the Western Balkans.
The Council of Albanian Ambassadors believes that this Summit marks the first serious step towards the inclusion of the countries of the Western Balkans in the important European decision-making tables, where the discussion goes beyond our internal politics.
The summit of December 6th, once again brought back to the agenda of the EU the special importance of keeping the doors of the European perspective open and the acceleration of the enlargement process with the countries of the region on the agenda of the highest institutions of the EU and the Member States.
The leaders of the EU gave some powerful messages at this Summit, where the unwavering support for the people of Ukraine and the imposition without any compromise by all members and candidate countries of the EU of sanctions against Russia stood out; also, increasing care and attention for countries with fragile democracies in the Western Balkans, to avoid any danger and threat to regional peace and security and beyond.
Also, the decisions of the Tirana Summit bring attention back to the following fundamental issues:
Escalation of the economic and energy crisis, as a result of Russian aggression against Ukraine, and support for these vital sectors, such as families in need and infrastructure, is highly appreciated and welcomed.
The continuation of the implementation of joint projects in the framework of the Berlin Process, giving opportunities to young men and women in the Western Balkans to study in European Universities at lower fees is good news and promising for their integration into the values and European education.
Immigration and the fight against illegal asylum that is leading to the depopulation of the country is another issue of great importance, especially for countries like Albania; therefore, cooperation with the EU to adapt our legislation to its legislative corpus “Aquis Communitaire” and to benefit from the best European expertise has become more urgent than ever before.
Likewise, the alignment of the visa policy with that of the EU and especially the management of migration are a primary necessity, which require quick action plans and comprehensive reforms from the government and relevant authorities in our region.
In this regard, it would be very useful for the countries of the Western Balkans to increase cooperation with the EU to adapt the necessary legal framework for the seasonal employment of citizens. This would be one of the ways to discourage and reduce illegal immigration, influencing our citizens not to violate the rules of free movement.
In anticipation of more concrete discussions in the EU forums during the coming days, the Summit reconfirmed the support for the diplomatic efforts being made by the EU and the USA, for reaching the Final Agreement for the normalization of Serbia-Kosovo relations and the decision for the liberalization of visas with the Republic of Kosovo.
Furthermore, this Summit reaffirmed the comprehensive Berlin Process as a process fully supported by the EU, which together with the Western Balkans Regional Common Market cannot be replaced and compensated by any other initiative.