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European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations
News article19 July 2022Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

Remarks by Commissioner Várhelyi at the press conference with Jan Lipavský, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania following the first Intergovernmental Conference on the Accession of Albania

Intergovernmental Conference on the Accession of Albania

Dear Prime Minister Rama,

Dear Minister Lipavský,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted and proud to be here today to celebrate the historic decision for the citizens of Albania. Today marks the beginning of a new and crucial phase in our relationship. I am glad that we have launched accession negotiations with Albania following the decision of the European Council back in 2020. I want to thank the Czech Presidency and before them, the French, Slovenian and Portugal Presidencies for all the efforts they have been putting to this to happen. I also appreciate the strong engagement of all EU Member States throughout the process, helping us to get here today. Because today’s historic decision sends a very powerful signal to the Western Balkan region and beyond. It confirms the importance of the European Union’s enlargement policy which is more relevant than ever in the present geopolitical context.

Eight years after the candidate status and four years after our first recommendation to open accession negotiations, today marks the beginning of a new journey. My message to the citizens of Albania is very simple: we want you in the EU family. There is no doubt about that. Today’s meeting sends a strong political signal of the EU’s commitment to the EU accession process as such and specifically to Albania.

For the first time, we applied the revised methodology in its entirety. From now on, we will inject in the negotiations with Albania more credibility, predictability, dynamism and a stronger political steer. In this journey to EU membership, Albania can count on the Commission’s support of course, and our role is to make sure that Albania will be well-prepared to join the European Union; be it the rule of law, fundamental rights, socio-economic policies and so on.

We will continue to do all we can to speed up the pace of the accession negotiations for Albania. No later than this afternoon, we will launch already the screening of the EU acquis which is the first step in the accession negotiations. This will benefit from the robust preparatory work already undertaken with the administration of Albania and it will allow identifying all major issues to be addressed during the negotiations, as well as areas where preparations need to be intensified. I am confident that Albania is determined to join the European Union and to work hard for it, as it has been doing already, and as it has been doing also after the decision of 2020 to create the opportunity to open accession negotiations.

Of course, we need wide national consensus to prevail, to make it happen because on this path, we need all in Albania to help us to make it happen and to make these negotiations not only inclusive, but also conclusive. Because negotiations are of transformative nature; these negotiations will affect every day the lives of the citizens. This will have major impact – positive impact – on the society, the economy and it will bring benefits immediately to the citizens. So we need everybody to be part of it and we need everybody to work for it.

So, the road for Albania to become a Member has already started, and we are ready to work as fast as we can to make it happen as fast as we can.

Thank you!

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