Ministerial Meeting in Amsterdam: a reinforced interaction of EU with the Western Balkans countries

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ditmir Bushati attended the meeting of the EU and candidate countries' Foreign Ministers held in Amsterdam.

Discussions focused on dealing with the refugee crisis, as well as the side effects of this crisis for the EU and the Western Balkans.

In his speech during the meeting, Minister Bushati reiterated the destabilizing effects of the refugee crisis on development and reform processes in the region. "The dimensions of this crisis have raised questions about the ability of affected countries to keep up the process of EU enlargement facing the consequences of the crisis at the same time" – Minister Bushati said.

In this context, Albania will remain consistent with the commitments it has made towards the European partners since October last year. "We have clearly stated that we are willing to be part of the solution of this crisis, certainly within the modest available capacities and a strengthened cooperation and support of the EU" – Bushati underlined.

In the course of proceedings, the participants analyzed different scenarios on the performance of the refugee crisis in the coming months, and evaluated the risks from a security standpoint.

The risk that routes used by refugees cross Albania was considered low at analysis of existing data, but Albania will continue to monitor the situation in close cooperation with its neighboring countries and specialized agencies of the EU and the UN.

Minister Bushati explained that "Albania is working closely with Italy, not only in the framework of border police operations but also with regard to monitoring of maritime traffic in the Adriatic basin, in order to prevent activities of groups that may seek to take advantage from the refugee tragedy".

"The refugee crisis has spotlighted a reinforced interaction of the EU with the Western Balkans countries. This moment should be used to ensure proper functioning of democratic and state-building processes in our region" - Minister Bushati pointed out.

In the framework of this ministerial meeting, Foreign Affairs Minister Ditmir Bushati also held talks with several counterparts, focusing on the performance of state-building reforms in the context of the five key priorities for the opening of negotiations for Albania's membership in the EU.

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