Speech of Prime Minister Edi Rama in a joint statement to the media:
Dear Ms Chancellor!
Thank you for this invitation to come to Berlin today, on the 28th of November, our national holiday of Independence, 104 years after its announcement, and in a very important moment for Albania on its path towards full integration with the European Union.
Thanks also because, despite all of your commitments, you found time to meet again formally for the third time over a span of three years. Albanians, not only in Albania but also in Kosovo and everywhere they live in our region, are deeply grateful to you for the strong support that Germany and you personally have made to create the conditions for peace in the Balkans to have a new quality of regional cooperation.
The Berlin Process has become a new space of communication and interaction among the countries and citizens in our region, and the regional youth cooperation office launched in Albania on the inspiring Franco-German model is only one of the significant indicators of this historical process.
I’m not saying anything new today by underlining once more the fact that this new promising situation in the region is linked to the great attraction power that Europe has for us, something you have observed and consistently underlined. But I also want to emphasize that in this very positive situation for our region, neither we nor our European friends and partners should take for granted what we have achieved, because there are also third actors operating in our regional space, and their intention is to use any potential form of instability, uncertainty or vacuum which could be created in our relationship with the European Union.
The process of European integration for us, for the peoples of our region who are wholly European, although our countries are not yet members of the EU, should be a process as fair and as predictable as possible.
Albania and Albanians do not seek anything undeserved on the path of EU membership. We’re not on this path because Brussels, Berlin or Paris has imposed it on us, but because our founding fathers who created the Albanian state 104 years ago, dictated it to us as the expression of an early willingness to split from East to join the West. As it has been and is dictated every day to us by the interest of the coming generations in order to live in a democratic country that guarantees the rights and freedoms of every citizens.
Therefore, we have never seen our homework on the path of European integration, as a burden imposed on us by foreigners, but only as a debt that we have to our children. It is with this awareness that we have accomplished deep and modernization reforms during these three years, and thanks to the generous support of our European friends, primarily of Germany and yours personally, we adopted this year a major constitutional reform, the judicial reform. The granting of candidate status 2 and a half years ago, served us as a special motivation to carry out this reform, which is rightfully considered as key for the opening of accession negotiations.
Today I am very proud of the fact that – after we met previously in Berlin and you made it very clear to me that we have your full support to become an EU member country, but we definitely need Justice Reform, – we have today this duty fulfilled in our constitutional chart. But it’s a duty fulfilled only on paper, and now time has come to implement it. We are very understanding, Albania understands and fully supports the European Commission's requirement that accompanies the positive recommendation for the opening of negotiations, which is that we need to begin the implementation of the Vetting law for judges and prosecutors.
Just as, I don’t even call into question that as long as negotiations are opened officially, progress on the 5 priorities should be ongoing and they should remain our guide until the day of accession.
And finally, dear Chancellor, I want to say that Albania asks for and I believe that Albania deserves from the EU the same loyalty that our country has constantly expressed to the European Union with its foreign policy 100% in line with the EU decision, its regional policy, completely oriented towards the values of the EU, and with its internal policy completely led by the European spirit of democratic and social development.
Once again, I want to express my conviction that the EU needs Albania and the region, as much as Albania and our region need today the European Union.
I want to assure you and your government that we have not misused any moment the trust and support we have received here in Berlin, and we will continue on our path to work and take forward the reforms, and implement them in the everyday reality of Albania, in order to be willing sooner rather than later to become part of the EU.
With gratitude for you and with much respect for everything you do for a better world!