Charles Michel in Tirana: Investment package for Western Balkans, modernization of enlargement process

 Charles Michel and Edi Rama in a press conference in Tirana
 The European Council President Charles Michel is in an official visit to Albania this Friday. This visit by the head of the Council comes a week after that of Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi.

Among other things, he stated Albania should work on deepening reforms. Euronews Albania journalist and news director Ilva Tare asked in the interview the Enlargement Commissioner what Albania should do more to find the "key" to opening negotiations with the European Union on this issue, Oliver Varhelyi replied:

"What is most important for Albania now is to continue with the reform process and to engage fully with member states on all issues related to reforms. So not just to draft laws, but also to implement these reforms and laws.” Oliver Varhelyi.

After Tirana, Charles Michel will also go to Skopje where he will meet with the President of North Macedonia, Pendarovski. January and February are important months for EU institutions and candidate countries.

Meanwhile, a new enlargement methodology is being prepared in Brussels, set by France to approve the start of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia.

"In the coming weeks, at the European Council table we will have the opportunity to debate, but we hope to have the opportunity to make decisions, to orient ourselves on the future of Albania in the EU and the Western Balkans in the EU. As President of the EC, I see 3 pillars in approach, in the strategy we need to develop together.

The first pillar is the necessity, I want to explain here to you, the necessity for European countries, for the heads of government to agree on how they will think about the enlargement process.

The second point, as you know, before the summer, the European Commission made proposals to the European Council regarding the opening of negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia. We will again have this debate at the European Council on the basis of a proposal to be made again by the European Commission on this subject.

The third point is the call I make and the mobilization that needs to be made around the EU table to achieve an investment and growth pact for the Western Balkans, a growth pact that will mobilize all possible spheres in order to encourage economic development.”, said the President of the EC.

Commenting on the skepticism of France and the Netherlands about the opening of negotiations, Mr. Michel said that the decisions of the European Council are taken unanimously and that there is still no unanimous decision to open negotiations for Albania.

"We will have a debate very soon on modernizing the enlargement process, on some important political criteria. My message is clear, today we have no unanimity, and we will work to find a unanimous position. The ambition of the 28 EU countries is that the future of the Western Balkans will be in the EU. In the coming weeks we will continue debates and discussions on this topic," said Mr. Michel.

Whereas, Mr. Rama said that Albania is expected to be familiar with the general approach of the European Union member states regarding the enlargement process and did not spare the irony with the stance against enlargement that France is holding. On the other hand, he added that whatever the decision in March on whether or not to open negotiations, the reforms will not stop.

"Under these conditions, even France, if it wanted to join the European Union, would not be accepted by France, before agreeing on how the process would proceed," the Albanian prime minister said.

A Donors' Conference will be held in Brussels in February to help Albania deal with the damage caused by the November 26 earthquake, which killed 51 people and hundreds more lost their homes. The EC President said during his speech that it was intended "beyond words and beyond compassion, beyond kindness, sympathy and support to have real support for the population of your country."
Charles Michel in Tirana: Investment package for Western Balkans, modernization of enlargement process Charles Michel in Tirana: Investment package for Western Balkans, modernization of enlargement process Friday, January 24, 2020 Rating: 5
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