Minister Bushati meets with President of Bulgaria and attends CoE Ministerial Session in Sofia

On the second day of his stay in Bulgaria, Minister Bushati met with President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev and attended the 126th Ministerial Session of the Council of Europe, which was held in Sofia.

Minister Bushati and President Plevneliev praised the very good traditional and friendly relations between our two countries and expressed their common will to take them to a higher level. In the context of boosting cooperation in areas of mutual interest, interlocutors highlighted the importance of energy and infrastructure interconnection between Albania and Bulgaria.

Discussions also dwelled on developments in the region, security challenges in the continent, cooperation in the framework of regional initiatives as well as the advancement of Euro-Atlantic integration processes. In this context, Minister Bushati noted Bulgaria's commitment in supporting the Euro-Atlantic path of Albania and the region. Moreover, talks focused on transferring Bulgaria’s best practice to manage European funds, as an opportunity for economic and social development.

Minister Bushati attended the proceedings of the Council of Europe Ministerial, which focused on the situation of democracy, human rights and rule of law in CoE countries, while addressing specific aspects of democratic security in our continent.

Ministers adopted a series of important decisions on the role of the Council of Europe in response to the current refugee crisis, phenomena of radicalization and violent extremism as well as terrorism and security challenges in Europe.

In his intervention, Minister Bushati commended the report presented by Secretary General Jagland on the role of the European Council in implementing and promoting democratic security in our continent. Focusing on the first pillar of democratic security, the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, Minister Bushati underlined that "Albania has embarked on a deep, comprehensive and inclusive reform of the justice system through the consultation process with the Venice Commission. This reform requires a serious commitment and compromise of all political sides in the country, and its adoption is a condicio sine qua non towards Albania’s next step in the EU accession agenda.”

Furthermore, Minister Bushati reiterated Albania's commitment in the fight against violent extremism and the phenomenon of foreign fighters, underlining that work is underway to establish a regional center on countering violent extremism in Albania. 

He also put the emphasis on cooperation with civil society, media, and religious communities in providing the young generation with proper knowledge to successfully resist hate and discrimination and work to achieve social cohesion.
Moreover, Minister Bushati dwelled on the migratory crisis and terrorism, the rise of negative stereotypes and the need for a joint response in facing these challenges. 

He underlined the special role of the Council of Europe in anchoring Kosovo firmly within the European “community of values” and the need for Kosovo to be part of the Council, stating that "the sooner Kosovo joins the Council of Europe, the sooner its people can enjoy the protection of our Convention system."

At the end of the Ministerial Session, the rotating Presidency of the Council of Europe was passed to Estonia for the upcoming 6-month period.

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