Prime Minister Edi Rama at joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, Boyko Borissov:
PM Edi Rama: It was an honour and pleasure for me to welcome today a special friend, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, who deserves a very special appreciation also for the fact that in his capacity as the Prime Minister of the country that holds the EU Council presidency, he has made a tremendous effort, not only to place the Western Balkans agenda at the backbone of the Presidency program, but also for his advocacy towards the Western Balkans, Albania and Macedonia in particular, over this period.
In a sign of gratitude, I had the pleasure to award to the Prime Minister the Medal of Gratitude, which I hope will remain forever on the shelf of his memoirs, also because I’m not entirely sure that when Bulgaria will take over again the EU Council presidency, Boyko will be no longer serving as Prime Minister. However, from this Bulgaria EU Council presidency remains a good memory of this extraordinary contribution he has given and is continuing to provide every day until end of June, when we hope to receive positive, long-awaited news about Albania and Macedonia.
Likewise, together we took part in the Security Conference held in Tirana as part of the AQABA Process, launched under the auspices of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who was unable to attend due to highly sensitive commitment in his own country, and we will be again together at the Public Conference we will hold.
I won’t go on speaking further, since I believe words won’t be enough to describe the intensity of cooperation during this period in particular, but beyond this period, our relationship with Bulgaria is extremely positive. We are really happy to be given the opportunity to express the quality of this relationship, including in the occasion of the adoption of Law on National Minorities by the Albanian Parliament.
We discussed issues of bilateral cooperation. We discussed about organizing a joint business and investors’ forum focusing on tourism. We discussed Bulgaria’s potential technical assistance in the framework of Albania’s preparations for the EU accession negotiations. I admire the fact that Bulgaria, from a country at the bottom of the list of beneficiaries of European Union funds, is today a country providing an excellent example in this regards and we are happy that our desire to learn from this experience, is meet with the maximum readiness to help from our Bulgarian friends and the Prime Minister in particular.
Finally, we also had the opportunity to discuss over the entire, difficult, yet transforming and indispensable process of reforms, which Bulgaria has gone through at an earlier stage, and which are key not only in our bid to join the European Union, but above all, in our bid to modernize the county and enhance the standards of living of all citizens of this country.
Giving the floor to Prime Minister, who can speak much more than me from his point of view about this process related to the end of Bulgarian Presidency in June and with the European Council meeting, I would like to once again thank him very much for his presence here in Tirana and his readiness to explore all possibilities of strengthening the cooperation. I would like to thank him also for another fact. We also discussed the “100 Village Program” and our desire to include all friendly countries in this project. Bulgaria is the first country to patronize one of these villages in terms of contribution to cultural heritage and improvement of social infrastructure in cooperation with the Albanian government.
Boyko, thank you very much!