Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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News, Statements

President Begaj Delivers a Press Statement During His Official Visit to Poland

Today, I had the pleasure and privilege of being warmly welcomed by the Polish President Duda, to whom I extend my heartfelt thanks for the warm reception accorded to me and the Albanian delegation.

As the President of a country that joined the Euro-Atlantic Alliance 15 years ago and emerged from communist isolation three decades ago, it is a special pleasure and significant coincidence that my visit coincides with the year you celebrate the 25th anniversary of NATO membership, the 20th anniversary of EU membership, and the 35th anniversary of Poland’s democratic transformation.

Today’s meeting is an indication of the excellent political cooperation between our two countries. I come here following the successful visit of President Duda to Tirana just over a year ago.

Allow me to say upfront that the focus of our discussion today, as in our previous meeting, was the alignment and consolidation of our mutual will for closer cooperation on a range of bilateral topics, as well as regional developments and global threats.

The cooperation between Albania and Poland is based on a long-standing tradition of friendship and is supported by a relationship of deepening partnership, not only as NATO member states but also as two countries sharing common European values and strategic interests.

We agreed that existing relations and cooperation should be encouraged and further expanded in all areas of mutual interest. Particularly, economic cooperation should be elevated to match the level of our excellent political collaboration.

In the field of economic and trade cooperation, there are several promising achievements such as the direct flights between Tirana and Warsaw and the fact that Albania hosted about 40% more Polish tourists in 2023 compared to the previous year.

Albania remains fully interested in welcoming more direct investments from Poland in infrastructure, transport, agriculture, tourism, innovation, development of natural resources, renewable energy, the railway system, etc. Albania has a dynamic and rapidly growing economy, stable currency, controlled inflation, and a healthy banking sector.

Albania is very grateful to Poland for its continuous and solid commitment to integrating the Western Balkans, particularly Albania, into the European Union. Russia’s unjust war against Ukraine has made the EU realize that its most effective geopolitical tool, marked as an imperative geostrategic need, is its enlargement policy.

We view with more optimism and enthusiasm the assumption of the European Council Presidency by Poland at the beginning of 2025. We are convinced that Poland will facilitate further progress of the Western Balkan countries in the EU. We believe that the Polish Presidency will mark a significant moment in promoting and accelerating Albania’s EU integration.

The Western Balkans are facing ongoing challenges, which, as we discussed during the meeting, should never affect or compromise the region’s Euro-Atlantic future. In this regard, the role and commitment of friendly Poland remain significant, directly contributing to regional and broader peace and stability. The war in Ukraine, the influence of third parties, or nationalist and separatist rhetoric coming from the region must be countered with close cooperation, where a European future will guide our common future in peace, security, and prosperity.

I highly value Poland’s contribution towards strengthening security in the Western Balkans, whether through KFOR in Kosovo or Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Also, the recognition of Kosovo’s independence has been a geostrategically important decision for the broader region. Given the positive step, which I welcome, of establishing consular relations, I consider it equally strategic to establish full diplomatic relations with Kosovo, as well as its membership in international organizations, including NATO.

The war in Ukraine, as a result of Russia’s military aggression, remains a threat to peace and security in Europe and beyond. Albania has consistently and unequivocally expressed full solidarity with Ukraine and has emphasized unwavering and continuous support for its independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders. Simultaneously, I appreciated the role and contribution of Poland and expressed to President Duda my full solidarity and support.

It is vital for our common security to increase and maintain support for Ukraine as long as necessary. Supporting Ukraine is not charity. It is an investment in our common security, in our present and future. We believe that Ukraine’s future lies within the Euro-Atlantic family and support Ukraine’s aspiration to join NATO as soon as conditions permit. A few months ago, Albania co-organized with Ukraine in Tirana the Southeast Europe-Ukraine Summit, where participating countries reiterated their unwavering support for Ukraine, condemning in the strongest terms Russia’s unjust and unprovoked aggression.