Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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President Begaj hosts the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Nataša Pirc Musar, at a state ceremony

President Bajram Begaj of Albania hosted a state ceremony today for the President of Slovenia, Her Excellency Nataša Pirc Musar.

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Initially, they held a one-on-one meeting followed by an expanded session with delegations from both countries. In a joint press conference with the Slovenian President, President Begaj shared details of their discussion.

He reported discussions with his Slovenian counterpart about Albania’s EU integration process, initiatives for the development of the Balkan region, cooperation within NATO, and strengthening economic ties between Albania and Slovenia.

Referring to the commitment to expand the European Union into the Western Balkans through initiatives like the Brdo-Brijuni and Bled Strategic Forums, President Begaj described Slovenia as a steadfast friend of Albania that has supported integration processes. He expressed readiness to materialize the “Expansion 2030” plan, a product of the summit in Bled, Slovenia.

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“Expansion 2030,” stemming from the Bled Strategic Forum, stands as another concrete proof of your support. We are ready to collaborate intensely to make this plan a reality,” said President Begaj.

President Begaj praised President Musar for Slovenia’s constructive role in the region, particularly its participation in the KFOR troops in Kosovo. He reaffirmed that the Albanians in the region are a stabilizing factor with a Euro-Atlantic orientation, as evidenced by their crucial role in the NATO membership of North Macedonia and Montenegro and the efforts towards Kosovo’s integration into the alliance.

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“The Western Balkans remain a region vulnerable to actors inspired by the past who project a future far from Europe and democratic values.

The unjust Russian aggression against Ukraine is another alarm signal showing how careful and cooperative we must be to minimize vulnerabilities and risks from these actors,” emphasized President Begaj.

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He also noted that during their discussion, a special focus was on economic cooperation and advancing the progress made in recent years. He stated that Albania welcomes direct Slovenian investments in tourism, finance, agriculture, information technology, energy, and many other sectors, highlighting the importance of opening a direct airline route between Ljubljana and Tirana.

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“Furthermore, we need to increase contacts between our citizens. A direct flight between Ljubljana and Tirana would not only enhance direct interactions but also boost the number of tourists visiting our countries.”

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In response to journalists’ interest in the future of Albania’s European integration, President Begaj declared that the European Union should regard Albania’s membership as a strategic goal, emphasizing that for Albania, joining the EU is no longer a matter of time but the realization of a long-held dream.

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