Sánchez celebrates the start of EU accession negotiations in Albania

President's News - 2022.8.1

Tirana (Albania)

The President of the Government of Spain, in a joint appearance with the Prime Minister, highlighted that the tour is a clear demonstration of the importance that Spain attaches to this region of Europe: "You have all started- and Albania is an excellent pupil- an exciting journey towards the European Union, to which you should certainly belong, by geography, by history, by tradition and by a clear reformist will".

During the meeting, the leaders discussed the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the need for European unity to diminish the force of Putin's authoritarianism. To this effect, Sánchez congratulated the Albanian people for joining the EU sanctions on the Russian economy, "which are in no way intended to harm the Russian people, but to force their leaders to return to international legality".

The two leaders discussed the 19 July launch of negotiations on Albania's accession to the European Union. In this regard, the President pointed out that "it has been a long and much-desired journey. I acknowledge Albania's patience and solidarity and reiterate that, as in the past, Albania will continue to enjoy Spain's support in its reform process and in making accession to the Union a reality in the near future".

Meeting between the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and the President of the Government of Albania, Edi Rama | Pool Moncloa/Fernando Calvo

Bilateral relations

Spain and Albania, two European countries, also share the fact that they are both Mediterranean and have a strong Euro-Atlantic vocation. The good bilateral relationship between the two countries, and especially the political relationship, has been strengthened in recent months with close contacts at the highest level. In this regard, Sánchez stressed that "now is also the time to intensify our relationship in other areas, such as the economic and commercial spheres, since many Spanish companies are very interested in contributing to the country's growth".

This excellent collaboration has been solidified today with the signing of an International Administrative Agreement, coordinated by the Ministries of Home Affairs of the two countries, creating a joint investigation team to fight crime, one of the commitments forming part of the accession process. Specifically, the agreement aims to combat criminal organisations involved in drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorism; and will involve direct communication between the units involved to share information and assist in operational activities.

The leaders also discussed economic and trade relations, which are currently worth a total of around 155 million euros. With the presence of Spanish companies in Albania in sectors such as tourism, textiles and energy, there is the capacity to explore these areas in greater depth and also to expand into sectors such as the circular economy, innovation, machine tools, electric vehicles and construction.

Spain and the Western Balkans

The President has made this tour of the Western Balkans (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Albania) to show the Spanish Government's support for the accession of these countries to the EU, as well as for the reform process.

The President began the tour in Belgrade, Serbia, where he held a meeting with President Aleksandar Vučić to discuss the excellent bilateral relationship between the two countries.

The next day in Sarajevo, Sanchez met with the three co-chairs of the tripartite presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina: Željko Komšić, Milorad Dodik and Šefik Džaferović, and visited the symbolic building of the old city library, now converted into the City Hall, in whose reconstruction Spain took part. In Mostar, Sánchez paid tribute to the Spanish soldiers who died in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at the monument in their honour erected in the town's Plaza de España.

In Montenegro, the Chief Executive met with the country's President, Milo Djukanovic, and Prime Minister, Dritan Abazović. From there he travelled to North Macedonia, where he met with the country's Prime Minister, Dimitar Kovacevski, and held a meeting with President Stevo Pendarovski.

Throughout his tour of the Western Balkans, the President of the Government of Spain stressed that the EU is a community of values, principles and rights in which "all European states committed to justice, international law and solidarity have a place, because we strive for the freedom and prosperity of our citizens as a whole".

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