Minister Bushati holds meeting with Austrian FM Kurz and attends conference on resolution of bilateral disputes in Western Balkan countries

Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati held a meeting with the Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria, Sebastian Kurz. This visit comes at a special moment for the two countries, which a few days ago celebrated their 60th anniversary of re-establishment of bilateral relations and denotes the excellent relations between Albania and Austria.

The process of European integration, further strengthening of bilateral cooperation, coordination of joint efforts in addressing current challenges faced by the European Union such as migration and security crisis in the continent, were among the main issues discussed at the meeting.

Minister Kurz highlighted the special attention that Austria pays to the Western Balkans, reaffirming the region’s close approach to the European Union and Austria's commitment in this regard.

On his part, Minister Bushati noted the progress made by the Albanian government to address the 5 key priorities, with special focus on the justice reform. He praised the contribution of the Austrian government in encouraging the reform process in Albania. Austria's continued support is clearly reflected in the Development Strategy 2015-2020, where assistance for the strengthening of public administration, rule of law and vocational education are just some of the main directions of bilateral cooperation.

Moreover, parties also discussed the intensification of cooperation in priority areas such as tourism, energy, education, mining industry etc.

Minister Bushati appreciated the position of Austria as one of the member states to support the enlargement, stating that "this year we are implementing a joint action plan between the two countries, which includes a series of commitments and concrete activities in support of the country’s advancement towards the integration path, with a view to opening accession negotiations. This plan covers areas such as the European integration, economy, development programs, public administration, education, science and civil society. "

Moreover, Ministers Bushati and Kurz attended a conference on the resolution of bilateral disputes in the Western Balkan countries, organized in Vienna by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The conference was held in the framework of the Berlin Process and preparations for the upcoming Summit to be held in Paris, in July 2016.

This conference dwelt on the commitments undertaken by governments of regional countries and the statement on bilateral issues signed by Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Western Balkans at the Vienna Summit in August 2015. Special attention was also paid to the creation of instruments for settling bilateral disputes and establishing a framework for measuring progress.

Minister Bushati also attended the high-level panel on the "Western Balkans: Energizing the enlargement process by solving bilateral disputes."

In his remarks, he highlighted the fundamental transformation that the Western Balkans has undergone thanks to its European perspective, and the need to further this process in view of the regional stability. Focusing on the nature of bilateral disputes in the region, Minister Bushati stated that: "I will try to divide the current open bilateral disputes in the Western Balkans in three different baskets:

- In the first one are those bilateral disputes inherited from a distant past.

- In the second basket are statehood issues that emerged after Yugoslavia’s break-up

- In the third basket are bilateral disputes that are of practical importance for the future but do not necessarily produce obstacles to EU enlargement. 

I would also add that the ongoing dispute resolution mechanisms should integrate into their approach the economic development dimension 

I would also add that the ongoing dispute resolution mechanisms should integrate into their approach the economic development dimension. There is a need to further channel the EU assistance towards growth policies, connectivity and reduction of inequalities between the WB and the EU".

This conference concluded that bilateral disputes still pose a real threat to stability by slowing down and hampering the EU integration process, as well as by posing barriers on regional cooperation and the establishment of good neighborly relations. For further progress in settling disputes, the role of a reliable EU membership perspective is key. In this context, Minister Bushati highly valued the Berlin Process for the revitalization of the enlargement process and EU’s crucial role in mediating the settlement of these disputes.

Postal Address

Mission of Albania
30, Rue Tenbosch,
1000 Bruxelles

Tel / Fax

Tel. +32 2 640 3544
+32 2 644 3329
Fax. + 32 2 640 31 77
Emergency Tel. 0032485401237



Monday to Friday
09:00 - 17:00