Korčok in Tirana: “EU Strategy for the Western Balkans opens scope for the partners in the region to be ready for the EU at the moment when the EU is ready for them”

Korčok in Tirana: “EU Strategy for the Western Balkans opens scope for the partners in the region to be ready for the EU at the moment when the EU is ready for them”

6.3.2018 | Aktivity štátnych tajomníkov | Slovensko a Európska únia |


A meeting with the President of Albania, Ilir Meta, launched the program of the working visit paid by Ivan Korčok, State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, to Tirana on Tuesday (6 March) afternoon.  The talks were dominated by current topics related to Albania’s EU integration process and the respective reform processes in the country with the emphasis laid on an extensive reform of justice and the progress in meeting five key priorities that are decisive for opening EU accession talks. During the talks, State Secretary Korčok confirmed the interest of the Slovak Republic in assisting Albania through sharing its own experience and know-how from the EU integration process, also including the CETIR (Centre for Experience Transfer from Integration and Reforms) program. “2018 can become a stepping stone for further progress by Albania on its road towards the EU. I would like to encourage you so that you continue in implementing the key reforms – neither because Brussels wants it nor because this will lead to the opening of the accession talks but because this will first of all help improve living conditions of ordinary people in this country," stated Korčok, who also talked with the President of Albania about bilateral relations and priorities in economic cooperation, as well as some regional issues including the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue.

These talks in the President´s Office were followed up by those with Ditmir Bushati, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, during which they especially delved into the country´s EU integration ambitions as well as regional and European topics in a wider context. Korčok pointed to the principles contained in the EU Strategy for the Western Balkans introduced at the beginning of February. “This document offers the opportunity for candidate countries to show whether they really want to make headway on the road to the EU. Various Balkan countries can have various views on the Strategy but the point is that it opens the scope for our partners in the region to be ready for the EU at the moment when the EU is ready for them. The speed of the process will exclusively depend on your political will and resolve to meet your commitments, having mobilized all accessible resources. You are in the key phase of reforms, including such sensitive areas as the reform of justice, fighting corruption and others. If you continue in this process and make progress, the Slovak Republic will support you," stated the Slovak State Secretary who appreciated the fact in this context that in the last three years Albania has become fully compliant with the EU in the areas of the country´s foreign and security policy. 
 
Korčok also pointed to the fact that Albania belongs among the countries to which Slovakia provides development aid – only last year Slovakia supported the project focused on local administration totaling €90,000. We also supported employing women, developing the rural areas and infrastructure through two grants in the total sum of almost €20,000. The two partners agreed that Slovak-Albanian bilateral relations are friendly while there is a significant scope for intensifying especially economic cooperation – mainly in transport, water and waste management, construction and agriculture. The priority in this area is to finalize the preparations of two key contractual documents – the agreements on promotion and protection of investments and on preventing double taxation. 

State Secretary Korčok plans to meet Gramoz Ruçi, Speaker of Parliament of Albania, and Senida Mesi, Deputy Prime Minister of Albania, as well as other Albanian officials on Wednesday morning (7 March).