Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

Austria 1 scaled

Statements, Statements

Press conference statement by the President of the Republic, H.E.Mr. Bajram Begaj with the President of Austria, H.E.Mr. Alexander Van der Bellen

Good afternoon!

It is a special pleasure to welcome the President of Austria, Van der Bellen, on his first visit to Albania.

Dear Alexander, once again, welcome!

We had a very friendly and cordial meeting with President Van der Bellen. This visit is an indication of the excellent relations between our two countries and peoples. For us, the relations between the two countries are of special importance. Austria is a historical partner and a friend of Albania and Albanians.

We shared the common view, that Albanian-Austrian relations experience a very good climate of cooperation and understanding, and that the political dialogue between the two countries has intensified, including the exchange of high-level visits.

We also expressed the will and readiness to intensify this cooperation.

I expressed my appreciation to President Van der Bellen for his special contribution to the strengthening and expansion of relations between our two countries, in all areas.

During the meeting, we discussed about various aspects of cooperation, sharing the positive evaluation of the achievements and encouraging promotion in all possible areas of mutual interest.

We shared the conviction, that there are many expansion opportunities regarding economic relations, increasing trade and investment exchanges.

Our conversation, certainly, focused on the issue of Albania’s European journey. I conveyed to President Van der Bellen, my appreciation and gratitude for all the support that Austria has given to Albania on the path to EU membership, which includes political, economic, infrastructural support and above all, support for justice reform.

Austria has played an active role in supporting Albania’s European perspective; especially in the First Intergovernmental Conference for the opening of accession negotiations, which represents an important step in the framework of advancing European integration negotiations between Albania and the European Union.

In this context, this visit is also a further evidence of Austria’s serious commitment to the integration processes of Albania and the Western Balkans region, as a country with many ties to this region, with constant attention and commitment, so that our region can be part of the European family.

I informed my friend Van der Bellen, on the progress made in the implementation of reforms for European integration and the concrete results in meeting the criteria in regard to this matter. I confirmed to him Albania’s determination to rapidly pursue the commitment to fulfill all obligations as a candidate country for EU membership.

I assured him, that Albania remains dedicated at all levels regarding visible results of the justice reform. Within the constitutional competences, I remain fully engaged in supporting the progress of the justice reform, so that all high justice institutions reach the standards required by the European Union, so that Albania strengthens the rule of law that guarantees the quality of democracy, – a  justice system that enjoys the full confidence of our citizens and international respect.

I expressed my gratitude for the support that Austria has given to our country for the justice system reform, within the framework of the EURALIUS program. Through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), Austria will continue to support this activity.

Austria’s support is very important for Kosovo’s membership in international organizations, as well as for Kosovo’s application in the Council of Europe. I thanked President Van der Bellen for the full support that Austria has continuously given to Kosovo, as well as for visa liberalization, and recently, for the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, which is so important for peace in the region.

Russian aggression against Ukraine has put our continent to a geopolitical, infrastructural and humanitarian test. Along with President Van der Bellen, we reaffirmed the positions of our countries on the condemnation of this unprovoked and unjustified aggression against a sovereign country and the unwavering support for the Ukrainian people and its territorial integrity.

I emphasized the determined position of Albania, in its role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, but also within other international organizations, alongside like-minded progressive countries, to ensure accountability for Russian crimes in Ukraine.

I seized the opportunity to thank President Van der Bellen for Austria’s support on the election of Albania, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

I thanked the friend of the Albanians and our friend, President Van der Bellen for the long-term financial assistance of the Government of the Republic of Austria through the Cooperation Strategy for Common Development, focused on supporting reforms in professional education, good governance, in the decentralization process and support for the progress of Albania’s path to European integration and regional promotion.

The government of the Republic of Austria has been one of the most important donors that has supported the reform of the education and professional training system in our country over the years and continues to make a very qualitative contribution.

I appreciated the presence and contribution of Austrian investors in Albania, in very important sectors of the economy with strategic importance, such as the banking sector, the insurance sector and the energy sector, both renewable and hydropower.

During the meeting, we confirmed the readiness to strengthen cooperation in the field of defense, order and security, in terms of challenges related to the fight against corruption, organized crime, cybercrime and illegal traffic.

Another aspect of the Austrian support that I would like to mention, is the initiative for the creation of the Alpine police unit, as an initiative that affects one of the richest natural habitats of Albania and touches on essential topics, such as the environment and natural resources.

We emphasized that Austria and Albania are regional partners of a special importance, not only because of the long-standing history, but also because of many new stories that the Albanian emigration has successfully built in Austria. Albanians are well integrated, thanks to their merit and success, as well as the benevolent and supportive policies of the government of the Republic of Austria towards this emigration.

Dear Alexander, thank you once again for the visit and the fruitful discussion we had today, the floor is Yours.

Thank You!