Minister Bushati at the Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Visegrad Group and the Balkan EU member states: It is time to think about the future of the new generation

Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati is attending the Ministerial Meeting of the Visegrad Group (Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland) and the Balkan EU member states (Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia) taking place in Sounion, Greece. Western Balkan countries, as well as Slovenia and Cyprus, are also invited to participate in the meeting.

The Visegrad Group and Balkan 4 ministers, together with the Greek Foreign Minister who is hosting the meeting, reaffirmed the full support for the European path of the Western Balkan countries. In this regard, the ministers unanimously conveyed the message that enlargement policy is a strategic investment in Europe's development and security and also contributes to strengthening good relations and cooperation in the region.

In his address, Minister Bushati underlined the need to exchange views among the Western Balkan countries and their responsibility in shaping the common future in the European family. Pointing to the importance of a strengthened interaction among all the Western Balkan countries and EU member states, the Minister evoked the importance of new developments to strengthen the European perspective of the region following the publication of the EC Strategy and expectations in the context of the forthcoming Summits of Sofia and London.

Minister Bushati assessed that the enlargement process should be a two-way process both geopolitical and economic. In this context, he underlined the importance of structural economic reforms in view of the narrowing of the development gap among the Western Balkan countries and the European Union.

"Negotiations will guide us towards the European transformation we have undertaken. We are aware that the opening of negotiations is just the beginning of a long and challenging process of learning, but we want to use this time to further transform our country and bring our citizens closer to Europe"- Minister Bushati said, referring to the latest European Commission recommendation for Albania.

Minister Bushati voiced that any discussion about the future should focus on "the future of the new generation".

Sounion’s Ministerial dwelt primarily on issues of energy cooperation and interconnection. In this regard, Foreign Ministers agreed on the need to better use the existing energy potentials in function of a better coordination of energy networking between the countries of the region and the EU.

Following the first meeting of this format, held in Budapest last year in October, discussions among Ministers focused on the Western Balkans integration process, the future of Europe, and on security challenges, particularly in terms of energy.

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