European Integration Ministry Promoting Constructive Dialogue

On her recent visit to the Centre of European Perspective, Majlinda Bregu, Albania’s Minister of European Integration, commented, “Albania has a strong European perspective and clearly sees its future as a member of the EU.”

On her recent visit to the Centre of European Perspective, Majlinda Bregu, Albania’s Minister of European Integration, commented, “Albania has a strong European perspective and clearly sees its future as a member of the EU.”

Majlinda Bregu, Minister of European Integration
Majlinda Bregu, Minister of European Integration

One priority for the Minister of European Integration is to promote regional partnerships. In September 2011, she signed a cross border agreement between Albania and Kosovo as part of the European Commission’s Pre-Accession Instrument (IPA) dealing with cross border cooperation. The IPA’s cross border policy is to promote cooperation between the people and institutions of neighbouring countries with the aim of supporting economic development, social cohesion and environmental awareness in a sustainable manner.

Under the terms of the agreement between Kosovo and Albania, projects and municipalities in both countries will receive support from a €1.2 million IPA grant through the end of 2012. After signing the agreement, Majlinda Bregu commented, “Albania has demonstrated that it is a nation with a western culture, open to dialogue, and with respect for other cultures in the region. Cross border cooperation and cross border projects will help strengthen this dialogue.”

Promoting greater cooperation between political groups

In addition to productive dialogue between countries, Minister Bregu is promoting more productive relationships between opposing political factions in Albania. In a recent speech to the Committee of European Integration, Majlinda Bregu said, “Political dialogue remains a priority in accelerating Albania’s EU integration process. The opposition’s boycott of Albania’s parliament puts Albania’s EU integration at risk. We should guarantee that Albania’s parliament can continue to function through promoting a constant dialogue between majority and opposition parties so that we can work together to accelerate the integration process.”

This opinion is shared by European observers. At a recent meeting of the EU Stabilisation and Association Council focusing on Albania’s efforts to achieve EU candidate status, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the EU, and Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement, urged the restoration of political dialogue in Albania and the return of the opposition to Albania’s parliament so that it can participate in Albania’s reform agenda.

After the meeting, Majlinda Bregu explained, “The EU welcomed the smooth implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement by Albania, including the recommended election reforms which we are currently establishing. The SAA meeting focused on how Albania should look forward, and looking forward surely does not mean blocking integration reforms. We would appreciate the opposition’s constructive contribution to the European agenda.”