Remarks by Prime Minister Edi Rama at the online Western Balkans Berlin Process Summit:
PM Edi Rama: Thank you very much Angela!
First of all, I would like to very sincerely thank you for having initiated and supported all the way this Process and for your firm and unwavering commitment to the region.
I know you don’t like these kind of praises, but as a matter of fact I think that the Process you launched has been really very important to keep alive what the EU is killing, by the way, the flame of hope in the future.
This being said, I think it is very important that we have more ownership of the Process, as it is also important that the Process now gets combined with the extra effort of the Commission, based on the new economic and investment plan.
it is sad and everybody knows that in the meantime the EU integration process of the region, which once upon a time was seen and explained like the right way to suppress Balkan nationalism, has become nowadays a process that is suppressed by the EU nationalisms.
So, here and there, nationalisms in EU are very much complicating our path and are very much playing an inverse role. Anyhow, as the legendary Donald Trump would say: ‘It is what it is,’ and we just have to move forward with what we have. And in what we have, we really think that this Berlin Process and what has unfolded is the strongest pillar of hope for the future.
I would like to underline here again what I had the chance to share directly with the Chancellor that it is absolutely very important speed up and in speeding up we need to avoid the trap of becoming like a caricature of the European Union, and being victims of crossed vetoes and victims of the necessary consensus! This means, we now have the goals very clear.
What Ursula already stated is absolutely the very clear picture of what we need to seek and do: the common regional market action, the economic and investment plan, and also full implementation possibly of the four freedoms of Europe.
We are not under the illusion that all these will save us from the very big gap between us and the European Union, because, just to give you one data, in the European Union Plan for 2021-2027, the Western Balkans will receive 507 euros per capita. By not drawing comparisons with others, but just a comparison with Croatia, which will receive the well-deserved 5195 euros per capita. So, it is just what it is.
At the end, I simply want to conclude by saying that Albania is very much convinced and will push as much as possible towards speeding up. And, as I said, we are not going to look for consensus at any cost. We are going to look for full inclusiveness in a process with everyone wishing to speed up the process. With Serbia and North Macedonia, I want to make it very clear we haven’t decided to split anything, we haven’t decided to divide anyone, we just have decided to push as much as we can by repeating all the time that everyone is welcomed, but by stating all the time that we are not going to wait anyone.
The goals are clear, the objectives are clear and the path is clear. It is up to us to push as much as we can, of course hoping that on the European Union side they will also push as much as they can and by the way I have to say that the Commission, the President of the Commission and Commissioner Várhelyi in particular, are saving the face of the European Union in the Balkans. Thank you very much.
Chancellor Merkel: Thank you dear Edi for the direct picture from your point of view. We were talking on the phone recently and we hope that progress will be made. President of Bosnia and Herzegovina is now on my list to take the floor.