Cakaj in Warsaw: Greater support for the young people

Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Gent Cakaj urged the Foreign Ministers of the countries participating in the Berlin Process to consider putting greater focus into the challenges faced by the youths in Albania and in the Western Balkan region.

‘The young people in the Western Balkan countries need to have a clear European perspective, the lack of which, despite all our efforts to tackle the youths’ challenges, could result in their exacerbation,’ Acting Minister said.

Cakaj considered that the Berlin Process has significantly helped increase the interaction among the countries in the region; however, he pointed out that, unfortunately, it can be seen that it is very difficult to offer concrete achievements in an environment, which is characterised by constant disputes associated with political rhetoric.

He considered it a paradox that, on the one hand, efforts are being made in the framework of regional initiatives such as the Regional Youth Cooperation Organisation, or the Western Balkans Fund to offer projects intended to address reconciliation among the nations, so as to render the region as vibrant an area of regional cooperation as possible, and on the other hand, the region is growing ever more conservative and nationalistic, precisely due to the political disagreements among the states.

For this reason, Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs underlined that it is very important for our countries to show greater determination in order to resolve bilateral disputes, and this could only be achieved if reminiscences of the past are addressed in a sincere and accountable manner.

He expressed confidence that the Berlin Process has imparted new dynamics to our region; however, this dynamics must be encouraged. Young people in our countries need to see a tangible European perspective from the European Union.

What should be understood, he went on, is that our region is not asking to join the EU tomorrow, but integration is very important and encouraging so as to carry out the required reforms relating to the rule of law, education, economic growth, and so on. In this context, liberalisation of visas for Kosovo, or start of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia are instrumental in invigorating and advancing the implementation of the reforms.

Warsaw Ministerial serves as a preparatory meeting for the Poznań Summit on the Western Balkans, to take place in July 2019 in Poznań, Poland

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