Merkel: Balkans part of EU as soon as possible
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised today the effort of the Western Balkan countries to become part of EU. In a joint press conference with the Albanian PM, Edi Rama and head of the EC, Jose Manuel Barroso, Merkel said the integration process is in the hands of these countries.

“In the conference, the Federal Government expresses the idea that 100 years after the First World War, we have a new era in the Balkans. We welcomed today 8 prime ministers. These countries has made huge progress and are ready to keep going. We think that in the next 4 years, to have another summit in Austria this time. So, it would be a process. Kosovo and Serbia has made huge efforts, also Bosnia and Herzegovina. We have talked about regional cooperation. We had the idea of creating a youth network, so people could cooperate. We want the integration process to move faster. We think we have to give it a new impetus, but this is in the hands of these countries. People have huge expectations when it comes to economic development. Barroso was ready, the EU enlargement commissioner Fyle also", Merkel said.

While PM Edi Rama said this summit is a very important moment for all Western Balkans.

"The role of Europe in guarding peace and prosperity is emphasized again in this summit and no one more than Merkel deserves to be thanked. I appreciate the engagement of Merkel. I am happy for this meeting to be regular to deepen our cooperation. I know EU has some doubts, but we see EU as an inspiration and hope. All Western Balkans countries are united in the path of reforms to become part of EU, but we need to remember that 100 years after WWI, there hasn't been any conflict in the region. We need to be tolerant today more than ever. Religious harmony is one of the reasons Pope Francesk is visiting Albania. Let us be those who keep this value in the gates of Europe. We want to make sure EU sees us as allies. We believe Europe can help us and we can help Europe. We are a country that knows where its future is", Rama said.

While the President of EC, Jose Manuel Barroso reaffirmed that EC supports Balkans integration in the EU. "The progress in Albania, Kosovo and Serbia is very notable", he said.

PM Edi Rama also confirmed he will be visiting Serbia in October and spoke about a new era in the Balkans. /
Published on: August 28, 2014 - 6:44 pm
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