Albania’s FM Says EU uncertainty undermines WB stability paradigm

"Our excellent relations and bilateral cooperation have grown even more within the OSCE troika. Close contacts between our governments are highly valued," said Sweden's Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ann Linde.

Linde is in Tirana on a one-day visit during which she declared Sweden supports Albania's EU integration process in a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister, Olta Xhacka.

This confirmation of support was made ahead of the Brdo EU-Western Balkans Summit organized by Slovenia which is at the helm of the Union during the second half of 2021.

Further on Linde stressed that "Sweden will remain a committed partner in your European reform efforts, including bilateral cooperation."

She pledged that her country plans to renew its commitment to support the Western Balkans through the adoption of a new Swedish development cooperation strategy for the Western Balkans. "The focus will be on democracy, human rights, the rule of law, gender equality, climate and the environment, including economic development and peaceful and inclusive societies."

In addition Linde underlined that the EU decision to open membership negotiations for Albania is a milestone in their relations. It is a recognition and acceptance of the determination and work done by the Albanian government and people. “We welcome the progress you have made and encourage you to continue on this path.”

Regarding her visit to Tirana, Linde said that "reflects the importance we attach to the cooperation between the OSCE and Albania as a valuable participating country."

In her comment Xhacka said the region has made very big steps forward on the path of stabilization, development and cooperation despite the difficulties and delicate moments like that of tensions in northern Kosovo. "But she was disappointed about the unclearness of the EU regarding the region's further steps in the integration process."

"And this uncertainty, in addition to the damage it does to the EU reputation, also damages the paradigm on which stability and cooperation in the Western Balkans region is built," Xhacka said.

She considered as excellent the relations between Albania and Sweden. She hoped that the visit will open a new chapter in the relations and exchanges between the two countries both on bilateral and multilateral plans.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed during the visit of the Swedish top diplomat which she considered as a joint effort against the spread and misuse of small and light weaponry. /