Joint press conference of Prime Minister Edi Rama and the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, after meeting in Brussels:
Donald Tusk: Good afternoon and let me warmly welcome my good friend, Prime Minister Edi Rama, in Brussels.
I am happy that the context in which we are meeting is both positive and promising. It is only a few weeks ago that the Council decided to set out the path towards opening accession talks with Albania in June 2019. And the Commission has already started the preparatory work.
A decision that has been unanimously endorsed by all EU heads of state and government. This progress would not have been possible without your country’s delivering steady and irreversible progress in reforms. And without your personal engagement and positive energy, thank you very much Edi, great job.
I have no doubt that if Albania keeps up the reform momentum, it will be able to deliver the necessary results by next June. Because Albania’s place is in the EU, and Albania will become a member of the EU. There is no doubt about this.
It is my hope and my wish that all pro-Western political forces in Albania will work towards the same goal.
Your efforts to settle remaining differences with Greece are the best proof of Albania’s commitment to the EU and good neighbourly relations.
Finally, let me recall that Albania remains a good partner and a friend of the European Union. On security and migration, we have a strong and well-established cooperation. Today, we also discussed and agreed the need to step up efforts to end the new route for illegal migration through Albania.
Prime Minister Edi Rama: Thank you Mr. President!
I am very pleased and honoured to be here with you. I want first and foremost say that we are very grateful for all your support and all your dedication to make sure that Council’s June decision was a positive one. I know it was not easy, but at the end it is very important that Albania now has a date to formally open the negotiations and also has the green light to start immediately the preparatory work, which is what normally happens after opening the negotiations. This has been really a very good solution and I want to again express you our full gratitude.
Secondly, it is very important for us to enter in this process and turn these 12 months a period of hard work and good results, so once we enter the negotiation formally, we would have gained time and we can proceed faster. In that prospective we are going to welcome Commissioner Hahn next week in Tirana to sit down with all actors who will be involved in this huge analytical process in the framework of the preparatory work.
And thirdly, we are – I want to say it again – very committed to this European path, very committed to solve our old problems with our southern neighbours and, as you said, we have made good progress and I am very hopeful we will have a good conclusion of this thorough tough, but open and frank dialogue, just like we are at the same time committed to regional cooperation and stability, where the region has done a great progress, but there is still of course a lot to do.
We count on your support, we count on your leadership and we also count on the support of everyone here in Brussels to move forward faster and achieve all the results needed in this very intense, but very crucial moment for Albania.
Thank you again! And sorry for Poland…in the World Cup, I mean.