Seventh meeting of SA Council between Albania and EU held in Brussels

The Stabilisation and Association Council (SA Council) between Albania and the European Union held today its seventh meeting in Brussels. The meeting was chaired by Mr Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, the country holding the current EU Presidency.

The European Commission was represented by Mr Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, whereas the Albanian delegation, composed by Minister of European Integration Klajda Gjosha and Mrs Majlinda Bregu, Head of Parliamentary Commission on European Integration and of the National Council on European Integration, was headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ditmir Bushati.

The SA Council gathers once a year to analyse the implementation of the SA Agreement and to review the progress of key reforms undertaken by Albania in the framework of the European integration process.

The council highlighted the progress of Albania towards meeting the political criteria for membership, in the fight against corruption and organised crime, as well as in the reform of the judiciary.

However, despite the achievements, Albania faces significant challenges and needs to intensify reforms in the five priority areas, especially those reforms dealing with the rule of law and the legal rule of economy.

The SA Council also noted that that constructive and inclusive political dialogue among all political actors in the country is essential for the sustainability of state building reforms.

With regards to economic criteria, the SA Council noted satisfactory record in the implementation of most assistance projects and the full engagement of the Albanian authorities in preparing IPA II.

In his address, Minister Bushati expressed the commitment of Albania to fulfilling the measures and criteria identified jointly with the European Commission in the roadmap on the five key priorities. He also stressed that “the accession process is a guide for the state building reforms as well as for the economic entrepreneurship in the country”.

Minister Bushati assessed that, in this context “we are keen to discuss with the commission a sequence and a timetable of steps that need to be undertaken, which can lead to the recommendation for the opening of accession talks. This gradual approach will help pace reforms and maintain the motivation of the public administration”.

“Recent events in our region have demonstrated the risk of a stalled EU integration process. In such a challenging geo-political context we expect the EU to send a strong political signal for the reform process and the reform minded political forces in the region”, said Minister Bushati.

At the end of the meeting, after exchanging views on the current situation in the Western Balkans, the SA Council welcomed Albania’s constructive role for the stability in the region and alignment to CFSP declarations and Council decisions.

During the press conference, Commissioner Hahn expressed his belief that Albania will continue its sustainable progress in its path towards EU integration.

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