Speech of the Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Speech of the Deputy Minister Gent Cakaj,as Acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs
Honorable Prime Minister,
Minister Bushati,
Dear colleagues of the Ministry,
With the passing the first wave of unbridled fire on me, I feel somewhat at ease than when this top job was communicated to me. And this, above all for a very strong cause, because being the leader of this key Albanian state institution, with powers delegated by Edi Rama himself, under his unquestionably close observation, is a pretty well guaranteed start under the flames of unfounded accusations and unbiased prejudices.
The change of the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, as well as the delegation of competences to a 28-year-old deputy minister as I am; my young age, is perceived as guilt, instead of being perceived as source of energy, inspiration and creativity.
I would hardly question, today and never, the sustained scale of the results and the wide range of successes that this Ministry has achieved for past five years. Under the direction of Minister Bushati and during the government of Prime Minister Rama, the amorphous form and the almost liquid content of Albania’s Foreign Policy has become a solid platform with a dynamic and well-structured approach, strongly based on the principles of both national and international dignity and credibility. Despite the enormous challenges and undeniable problems that inevitably have emerged, Albania today without doubt stands in the highest level of diplomatic representation and the most consolidated level of foreign political action.
Our country has become the bearer of a number of regional initiatives that testify to its credibility beyond our region. Albania stands closer than ever to the historic decision to open formal negotiations and become part of the European political family. Our homeland, Albania, is already in the irreversible stage of the final preparations to crown the greatest success in its multilateral history – the OSCE chairmanship for the coming year.
This transfer of institutional authority of this Ministry from Mr. Bushati, whom I heartily thank for his contribution, to me through Prime Minister Rama, whom, in fact, I do not even know how to thank for the trust given and the care shown towards me at every turn, does not imply any change in the strategic and political objectives of the Albanian Government in the framework of its foreign policy.
With new energies and proactive approach, we will continue without doubt to move forward with much more passion and willingness on the road of regional integration, by strengthening the profile of Albania as an active, dynamic actor with undeniable weight and central role that is listened by everyone and treated with respect by everybody. We will remain an inevitable force of peace and stability, a powerful promoter of the spirit of reconciliation and a credible bearer of development ideas, naturally through the means of dialogue and cooperation with all neighbors indiscriminately. Moreover, Albania has now entered a new phase, that of intensifying bilateral relations with the countries of the region, by delivering in the implementation of bilateral agreements and generating new political projects.
As Prime Minister Rama has outlined more than once, we want to further enhance communication, cooperation and interaction with the Albanian factor in particular. In the days ahead of us and the horizons that will be opened, we will be closer to them and they will be closer to us. At the same time, we remain committed to meeting all our obligations arising from our engagements in the region, with particular focus on increasing our quality and performance within the Berlin Process.
This increased attention to regional politics should not be read as a sign of omission on our European agenda, on the contrary, the development of Albania in the region is, according to me, a basic condition for our position on the European agenda and in relation to our international partners. In addition, Albania’s path, and this must be said clearly, to the European family passes through the process of self-consolidation in the region. The process of EU membership is an irreversible political and national process. Albania needs to be committed and well-organized to achieve this goal in real time, in line with the calendar presented and according to actual potentials. The next few months will be a time schedule that will break any boundary between night and day and will shake any difference between tranquility and action.
The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs will continue its intensive work for a more qualitative performance within the screening process and will further engage in promoting the approximation of local and European legislation. I would strongly say that one of the central objectives of my job will be to increase the interaction with other ministries to realize without delay any request presented in the June 2018 Council Conclusion and on the other hand, we will continue to have a quality dialogue with member states to make our visible results and our unstoppable reforms clear like the sun.
In addition, the upcoming time requires special attention to two key objectives of Albanian diplomacy: the successful OSCE Chairmanship in 2020 and the commitment to provide our country with a seat in the Security Council of 2022. In spite of unreserved commitments to facilitate these major goals, Albania will fulfill all its obligations within NATO and deepen its quality relations with all its partners in the world, with particular importance on the United States.
In parallel, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs will be strongly committed to further empowering of the Albanian passport, the development of economic diplomacy, the enhancement of programs with the Diaspora and, of course, the continuation of consular services improvement in the light of some very positive examples reached in the last five years and which, however, remain insufficient.
Honorable Prime Minister and dear colleagues of the Ministry
Throughout this time, under the pressure of not saying anything when almost everyone talked about me, I was overwhelmed by the weight of concern within me about what others would say when I spoke, despite my customary power to always say what I think.
However, words about me have already passed me, whether good or bad. I remain hopeful that I have not looked so bad in my first appearance before those who have already heard the bad comments about me, because as the saying goes “The only thing worse than bad health, is a bad name”. I hope that I will become better in the meantime and I also wish that whoever has said good words about me in these days has not lost faith in me for any moment, I hope that the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania, in particular, is not disappointed with my first appearance. I promise you, that you will always be happier with my job from now and on.
The precious master of the Albanian language, the Albanian poet from the city of Gjakova, among others, through a rare literary figure has said something essential of universal wisdom. “Time, says Podrimja, often marches on the turtle’s back”, and truly during these days, time has passed slowly, but time is often more stubborn than sluggish. That being said, I will push as far as I can all the boundaries of my being to make time a witness, because I have been here close to you to work with mind and heart. I serve with the deepest sense of patriotism and stand with dignity in the height of the faith of any man who has given the vote to this ruling majority, while I spoke very lightly about the coming tasks and the challenges that await us.
I remain hopeful that my actions will speak louder than words for both me and the well-trained team of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.
Thank you very much.

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