Paris Summit: Western Balkans' EU integration process continues with concrete projects

On July 4, 2016, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ditmir Bushati attended the Paris Summit for the Western Balkans, as the next stage of the Berlin Process, following the summits held in Berlin (2014) and Vienna (2015). 

It was chaired by French President François Hollande and attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Prime Ministers, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Economy of EU and Western Balkan countries involved in the Berlin Process.

The Summit expressed the EU support to continue the integration process of Western Balkans countries in spite of the new context created following the British referendum. In addition, parties reiterated the joint commitment to bring countries of the region closer to the European Union through concrete projects in transport and energy, as well as by creating real opportunities for young people in the region.

In his address at the session of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati underlined that: “consensus for the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries should be consolidated through success stories and tangible results.”

During the proceedings, three new projects of infrastructural interconnection were adopted, among which, the project submitted by Albania for the rehabilitation of the Tirana-Durrës railway and the construction of the branch leading to Rinas, an investment of 82 million Euros, of which 35 million Euros will be granted by the European Union.

One more result of Albania’s engagement in this Summit was the signing of the agreement on the establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office in Tirana, which aims at funding projects that increase the mobility of young people in the region and offer opportunities for vocational training and cultural exchanges. The office will function based on financial support provided by regional and EU countries.

Over the past two years the Berlin process has been successful in enhancing the cooperation trends in our region and in producing a new narrative: the connectivity pact which initially included only energy and infrastructure, has now been extended to trade facilitation and projects on youth employment.  

"The Berlin process has also created a real conscience in the region that we are in fact the main factors of our own success: this belief is at the core of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office and of our commitment to collective action on Trade and Transport in the Western Balkans" - Minister Bushati stated. 

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