Minister Bushati pays working visit to Berlin

Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati paid an official visit to the Federal Republic of Germany, where he met with the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Frank - Walter Steinmeier.

The two Ministers reaffirmed the excellent relations between Albania and Germany as well as the common commitment to strengthen and further boost cooperation on all issues of bilateral and regional interest.

During their joint press conference, Minister Bushati stated that: "I would like to thank you and the German Government for the unwavering and unconditional support in Albania's democratization process as well as the stabilization and normalization of our region. Despite the difficulties facing our continent and the EU in these times of crisis, we have experienced firsthand the close German support through their initiatives, especially the Berlin Process, with regard to the normalization of relations between Albania and Serbia, a positive performance in terms of dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, as well as a more positive momentum in terms of regional cooperation, as demonstrated at the conference on the Western Balkans in Berlin, Vienna and soon in Paris. There is no doubt for anyone in the region that thanks to the German leadership, coupled and aligned with the will to move forward, the Western Balkans, despite challenges of democratic state-building, has overcome some others,  related to regional stability. I would like to once again express my gratitude on behalf of the Albanian people for the support and contribution of German taxpayers in the process of democratic state-building, expertise provided on the justice reform, which we hope to be in its final stage before becoming reality, as well as the valuable assistance of German agencies provided during this time in Albania ".

On his part, Minister Steinmeier praised the progress made by the Albanian government to address the 5 key priorities in the European integration process, highlighting the need for the rapid conclusion of the justice reform and its impact in each life of every Albanian citizen. Focusing on the latest developments in the region, Minister Steinmeier stated that "Albania is an important partner in the context of the entire Western Balkans’ stability. Whoever gazes upon the WB countries these days, will only see that elections were organized in Serbia, but also in neighboring Macedonia, and almost every day irritation, protests and conflicts escalate in the streets. Therefore, the subject of Macedonia had a great impact on us this morning, as we discussed what we may do to avoid further violent conflicts in Macedonia. We both are regretful that intensive efforts by the EU and especially Commissioner Hahn, who has been engaged 24/7 for months, trying to talk to the parties in conflict to find a solution and guarantee the legitimacy of the upcoming elections. "

With regard to reforms undertaken by the government, Minister Steinmeier stated that: "I am pleased to have such a close exchange on topical issues in Albania. These are efforts concerned with reforms that your government has undertaken for several years now, with great commitment; a series of economic reforms that are underway and have led the country to a greater economic stability. This morning, we focused on reforms to be implemented. I know that Edi Rama and yourself are committed to conclude the important part of the judicial reform. When institutions undergo changes, there can also be some objection on their part. I would like to reiterate my respect for the readiness of Albania to attract large international expertise, in order to carry out a comprehensive justice reform. We haven’t seen this everywhere, nor have we seen it anywhere in the Western Balkans, thus I believe that what you have achieved constitutes a model. This has already turned out to be a proposal of a well-balanced justice reform, and now it is time for this reform to become reality. We support this reform through any assistance we can provide and underline that the justice reform is a cornerstone on the path towards EU integration. This will be stated in the reports of the European Commission. Therefore, I would like to express my appreciation for what has been achieved so far, and hope that this proposal for the justice reform become reality in Albania ".

With regard to the latest developments, challenges that Europe is facing today by terrorism and violent extremism, Minister Bushati reiterated Albania's support in the fight against them, providing its contribution in this joint fight alongside NATO allied countries. Minister Steinmeier confirmed that soon he will pay a visit to Tirana.

During his visit to Berlin, Minister Bushati held a meeting with State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Dr. Emily Haber, with advisers of Chancellor Merkel, Christoph Heusgen and Uwe Corsepius.

The migratory crisis, political and police cooperation between Albania, Italy and Greece in this regard, the fight against trafficking, as well as the current state of order in the country were the main topics of discussion during the working lunch of Minister Bushati with State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Dr. Emily Haber. Minister Bushati informed her on Albania’s commitments and contingency plan drafted by the government in the framework of facing the migratory crisis, in cooperation with European partners.

At the meeting held in the German Chancellery with the advisor of Chancellor Merkel for Foreign and Security Policy, Christoph Heusgen, interlocutors focused on regional issues, the situation and relations between regional countries and cooperation in dealing with current challenges such as migration and security.

Meanwhile, the enlargement process, a reflection of Albania's path towards the EU, undertaken reforms, the rule of law, will and political commitment were the main points of the meeting held between Minister Bushati and Advisor to the German Chancellor, Uwe Corsepius.

Furthermore, Minister Bushati was invited to the event organized by representatives of civil society, international relations scholars and Human Rights Watch. This activity focused on the Albanian foreign policy, transformational reforms of the country in the framework of European integration, current issues of human rights in Albania and the Balkans, as well as our country’s agenda at the Council of Human Rights. Minister Bushati responded to the interest of attending guests on a range of issues relevant to the Albanian foreign policy and its role in the region.

At the end of the visit, Minister Bushati was invited to the European Affairs Committee of the Bundestag at a hearing session, headed by MP Gunther Krichbaum. During his remark, Minister Bushati outlined the progress of state-consolidating reforms in the country, achievements and challenges in the fight against corruption and organized crime, the ambition and the European perspective of Albania, commitments and responsibilities undertaken in the framework of EU integration, the role of our country in the region and successful cooperation in the context of facing global challenges.

Minister Bushati responded to the MPs interest on the latest developments in the region.

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