I am always grateful for the moments like this, that remind us so clearly of who we are as Europeans and what are true European values.
And it is heartening that we are reminded of our togetherness in a country that has survived and resisted such hardships as Albania did, and managed to save, preserve and celebrate the core of its European identity.
Today's exhibition of rare manuscripts is yet another testimony of the historical harmony of existence of different religious communities and philosophical schools of thoughts in this country. It confirms, if ever a confirmation was needed, of how much Albanians share with the European family in our common roots.
I don't use the word co-existence between religious communities because it would suggest living next to each other's, and not with each other's – and therefore would not reflect the reality of this Albanian treasure.
This harmony and respect for each other should serve also to show the right direction to those who were chosen to represent the people and prove that European integration as a national goal should not suffer from any division among the Albanians.
Allow me to use this moment and thank all leaders of religious communities in Albania for their congratulatory and supportive statement after the European Commission recommended the opening of accession negotiations for Albania, and I quote:
"We seize this opportunity to vigorously call on the conscience of everyone, especially those in politics in general and in governance in particular, to continue to work relentlessly to comply with the standards necessary to become the part of the European Union"
"We Albanians are part of Europe and doubtlessly without each other we are not complete, we without Europe and Europe without us. We are joined by a history that is much longer than that of these last decades. It is a history which goes thousands of years back and it is our common cultural and social roots which bind us together"
The fact that this exhibition takes place in the villa of a former dictator who did so much to erase the spiritual history and values of the country is a living proof that in the end the good always prevail. Today, this villa is just an empty box, but a lot of healing is still waiting to happen.
As we are starting to celebrate Europe Week on the theme of the cultural – and therefore spiritual – heritage of Albania, I don't see a more fitting event to reaffirm that the European destiny of this country is rooted in its past, in its tradition, but more important than anything, in its values.