Republic of Albania and the Austrian Presidency of the European Union organized the meeting of the Ministers for European Integration of the countries of Western Balkans in Tirana on Wednesday.
The meeting was co-chaired by Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati, and the Austrian Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Karin Kneissel. Also taking part were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia Marija Pejčinović Burić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Affairs of Macedonia Bujar Osmani, Minister of European Integration of Kosovo Dhurata Hoxha, Montenegro’s Chief Negotiator for EU Membership, Aleksandar Drljević, representatives of Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, as well as international experts.The meeting laid the foundations for deepening of cooperation and mutual support for the regional countries’ path towards the EU integration.
Participants agreed to meet regularly at the ministerial level to provide political guidance to a strengthened cooperation between our institutions and to share views on the aspects of the pre-accession process. They also decided to seek further support from the European Commission, within the existing financial framework as well as by donors, in order to strengthen co-operation and mutual support.
The joint statement of the meeting expressed the commitment to provide mutual support to the pre-adherence phase, including its technical, financial, organizational and communication aspects, in order to accelerate the European perspective of all Western Balkan partners, as well as not to create obstacles to each other for EU accession, strengthen structured cooperation through a regional network for EU integration.
Obligation of relevant institutions of participating countries to develop and improve activities in order to enhance regional co-operation, mutual support and best practices exchanges in all aspects of the pre-accession process was also emphasised.
In his remarks, Minister Bushati emphasized that “launching of a structured cooperation process on the European integration reforms shows not only that we stick to the commitment of Vienna Summit in 2015 to avoid creating obstacles to each of our countries in our progress towards EU integration, but also that we have the actual will to support each other in the integration process.”
He underlined that “while the countries of the region are at different stages in the accession process, we face many common challenges,” and added that “the progress of each of our countries affects other countries”.