Minister Bushati participates in the Vienna Summit for the Western Balkans

On 26-27 August 2015, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Ditmir Bushati participated in the proceedings of Vienna Summit for the Western Balkans, as part of the delegation of the Republic of Albania headed by the Prime Minister, Edi Rama, which also included the Minister of Economic Development, Tourism, Trade and Entrepreneurship Mr. Arben Ahmetaj.

This summit followed last year’s  Berlin Summit and aimed particularly at advancing the agenda on infrastructural, road and energy interconnection among regional countries and EU, deepening cooperation on issues dealing with youth education, qualification, employment and movement, addressing issues in bilateral relations, as well as challenges faced by Western Balkans and EU countries.

On the first day of activities in Vienna, dedicated to the role of civil society, Minister Bushati attended the proceedings of the first session on "The role of EU in solving bilateral disputes in the Western Balkans, tackling tomorrow’s issues today”.

In his speech, Minister Bushati highlighted that: "Bilateral issues in the past have hindered EU accession process and questioned its credibility and predictability. To avoid all ambiguity, it is crucial to tackle bilateral issues at an early stage of EU accession and couple solution mechanisms with EU incentives, including instruments to support economic development".

On 26th of August, the Prime Minister Edi Rama participated in the Civil Society Forum, which focused on regional cooperation and the role of civil society. During this meeting, the agreement for opening the office of regional youth cooperation, on the initiative of Prime Ministers Rama and Vucic, was promoted.

The proceedings of the second day of the Western Balkans Vienna Summit, focused on discussions on existing structures of regional cooperation in the Western Balkans, how to address bilateral issues without affecting the European integration process, and youth cooperation as a promoter of reconciliation and normalization of relations, were held in the context of Foreign Affairs Ministers segment. In addition, Europe’s and our region's current challenges, including those economic and humanitarian, were addressed in this segment.

In his speech, Minister Bushati underlined that "Berlin Process has produced concrete positive steps as Western Balkan countries have shown that they can deliver on their collective promises. Once we had a stability pact. Today, we have a connectivity pact and we need also a development pact".

Concluding the meeting with a joint declaration on bilateral issues, Foreign Affairs Ministers agreed that bilateral open issues must not hinder integrating processes of regional countries.

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