Minister Bushati chairs sixth meeting of SA Council between Albania and the EU

On May 12, 2014, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ditmir Bushati chaired the sixth meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council between Albania and the EU. The EU was represented by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Mr. Evangelos Venizelos, as representative of the Greek EU Presidency, as well as the Commissioner for Enlargement, Mr. Štefan Füle. The Albanian delegation also included the Minister of European Integration, Mrs. Klajda Gjosha and the Chair of the Albanian Parliamentary Committee on EU Integration, Mrs. Majlinda Bregu.

The Stabilisation and Association Council constitutes the highest-level form of political dialogue between Albania and the EU. It meets once a year to make an overall assessment on the implementation of the SAA and to examine any important issue in the framework of the European integration process of Albania.

This meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council noted Albania's achievements on reforms related to the EU integration process and reaffirmed that the EU remains fully committed to Albania's integration.

In his speech, Minister Bushati stated that the reforms’ progress in key areas for the integration process constitutes a sound basis for the decision of granting the candidate country status to Albania, which will be taken by the EU Council in June.
 
The SA Council noted the reform efforts made by Albania and its firm commitment to advance on the EU integration path. The Council called for a comprehensive and constructive political dialogue between political forces in the country, considering it essential for the sustainability of reforms. Among other things, the Council underlined the importance of concrete results in areas related to the rule of law.
 
With regard to the economic criteria, the SA Council noted Albania’s positive,albeit moderate, economic growth and the efforts made towards establishing a functioning market economy. The SA Council also noted that overall Albania has been implementing well the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), and called for substantial further efforts as regards the protection of intellectual and industrial property rights.

In the end, after an exchange of views on the situation in the Western Balkans, the Council commended Albania’s constructive regional stance and positive role in maintaining regional stability, as well as Albania's continuous alignment with EU statements in the field of Common Foreign and Security Policy.

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