Today is a historical day for Albania. The EU Member States have taken the unanimous decision to open accession negotiations. I wish to congratulate Albania for the big step made towards becoming an EU member.
What changes from today is that Albania has a new status vis-a-vis the European Union. From now on, a new set of rules will apply that will help the Albanian people, as soon as possible, to join back the family where they belong.
The new methodology presented by the Commission and the sustainable progress made by Albania in the last months have been critical in taking today’s decision – I want to stress especially the spirit of compromise and unity shown by all political sides on the electoral reform.
What are the next steps now?
The Member States have given a mandate to the Commission to start preparing the rules of the game, the so-called negotiating framework. The Member States have also asked Albania to take the final measures in some key areas in order to convene the first Inter-Governmental Conference as soon as possible.
Now it is essential for the country to come together and deliver those measures. It will be primarily up to the government to take action and immediately prepare a structured action plan for the next months. But this work is a whole society effort that will need the cooperation of all Institutions, the opposition and the civil society.
The last months have been very challenging for the Albanian people. The earthquake of the 26th of November has hit hard on you and the current Covid 19 crisis is shaking the country. But you have reacted, you are reacting with sacrifice, courage and commitment.
Even in these difficult moments you looked ahead and showed your determination to continue on the EU path. XNUMX% of you made this clear early this year. Your message has been heard in the EU and by the Member States, who have shown their solidarity at the Brussels Donors Conference last month.
The EU will continue to stand by you, as always, with our political, financial and technical support to help the Albanian people fulfil their dream of becoming EU citizens. Today, we are one huge step closer to this common objective.
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