Presidenti i Republikës së Shqipërisë

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Today, the President of the Republic of Albania, H.E. Mr. Bajram Begaj welcomed to Tirana the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Today, the President of the Republic of Albania, H.E. Mr. Bajram Begaj welcomed to Tirana the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in the first official visit of a German President in the last 27 years.

President Steinmeier was received, this morning, with military honours, followed by a tête-à-tête meeting between the two Presidents.

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During the meeting between the two official delegations, discussions focused on Albania’s EU integration process, the opportunities to strengthen bilateral cooperation, especially in areas of economy and energy, as well as the potential for an increased presence of German investments in Albania.

Below you will find the speech of the President of the Republic, H.E.Mr. Bajram Begaj, during the official visit of the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E. Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier:

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 Dear President Steinmeier – Welcome to Tirana, you and the delegation you preside!

We are honoured by this visit and the continued support of your country.

To Albanians, the Federal Republic of Germany is a friendly country and an irreplaceable partner, which has supported us on all levels: political, diplomatic, economic, in our Euro-Atlantic journey, the democratization process of the country and regional stability.

Your visit today and a series of previous high-level visits are a demonstration of the excellent political cooperation and continued attention of the Federal Republic of Germany to our country.

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Sincere thanks, Mr. President, for your personal contribution in strengthening relations between our two countries and peoples.

Our cooperation is extensive  and comprehensive, – on a bilateral level, within the framework of the EU, NATO and other international organizations.

The support of the Bundestag and the German Government for the European integration reforms, the justice and the state police reform, other reforms in important sectors, such as energy, has been constant and always welcome. There are about 200 cooperation agreements, either signed and in negotiations, which speak louder than anything else about our close cooperation, in the last 30 years.

I thanked President Steinmeier for the decisive role that Germany played in holding the first Intergovernmental Conference and opening EU accession negotiations, in July this year.

Accession negotiations are a demanding process in many respects. We consider the technical support, given by the German counterparts to our public administration staff and negotiation teams on a number of important chapters, valuable and necessary.

The economic sector holds crucial importance for us.

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The commitment of the German government, through the financial and technical support given by KfW and GIZ, in crucial sectors of the economy, such as: energy, water supply & sewerage, environment, climate, sustainable economic development, water resources management and education, has been essential for creating new jobs, improving services for citizens, supporting categories in need and with a direct, significant impact on the economy.

Energy sector support in the construction of several interconnection lines, such as the ones with Kosova and North Macedonia, has strengthened this strategic sector, enabling the creation of an integrated market.

Germany is among the large foreign investors, with 338 German companies operating in our country.

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This drives us to work harder and improve the business climate, because we want to witness an increased presence of German businesses in Albania.

We are very grateful for the excellent help and cooperation in the fight against organized crime, corruption and illegal activities. Assistance and cooperation in the field of defence has enabled the qualification of thousands of Albanian soldiers in German military academies, many of whom are part of our country’s contribution to NATO military missions.

We thank you for the significant financial support, during the reconstruction process, the assistance in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the support in the case of the recent cyber-attack.

Cooperation in the field of education, at all levels, has enabled an improved quality of our educational structures, as well as common cultural understanding.

The war in Ukraine has brought on new challenges for the countries of the region.

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Lack of attention towards the Western Balkans can cause third actors to take advantage of the vacuum and have a negative impact on the future of the integration process of Albania and other countries of the region.

We welcome the role and contribution of Germany in the Western Balkans. The Berlin Process is the best example of German commitment to our region.

Next year, Albania will take over the Presidency of the Berlin Process and will host the Summit in Tirana – two historic significant events for Albania and the region, in our journey towards the European Union.

With the signing of the three important agreements last month and their immediate impact on the citizens of the Balkans, the Berlin Process demonstrated the importance of the political will of all actors, Germany’s irreplaceable role in the region and, above all, paved the way for the implementation of those agreements, as well as opened possibilities for future ensuing agreements.

We appreciate the commitment regarding the Franco-German, or German-French, or Brussels proposal, to reach a settlement of the conflict between Kosova and Serbia, and we support the continuation of the dialogue between the parties.

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Albania welcomes yesterday’s development in the visa liberalization process for the citizens of Kosova, and express our thankfulness for Germany’s support of the process.

We appreciate our cooperation and alignment of positions in international organizations, such as the United Nations, OSCE, the Council of Europe, etc., and express our thanks for the support Germany has given to Kosova’s application to the Council of Europe.

Mr. President, on behalf of the Republic of Albania, let me extend to you our deep gratitude for the continuous support in the past 30 years, for the expertise and generosity of the German government and people.

I guarantee you that our intent for a closer friendship, as well as our commitment to positive developments in our bilateral cooperation in the future is great and sincere.

Once again, Mr. President, welcome to Albania and a successful visit!