Dear President, Prime Minister, Mr. Speaker, Dear chair of the National Council for European Integration, Dear members of the judiciary, Dear members of media community, academia and civil society,
The past enlargements of the European Union have shown us that successful accession negotiations are always based on a broad and inclusive national consensus.
While the government has a primary and substantial responsibility to lead the accession process, the multidisciplinary nature of the tasks to be fulfilled during the negotiations requires a whole-society effort that sees the effective cooperation of all stakeholders around one common objective.
This is why I wish to congratulate the gathering today of Albania's political institutions to discuss what Albania as a whole is called to undertake as next steps in the accession process following the historical day of 25 march 2020.
The National Council, with the diversity of its members, is the natural place for such discussion and will have an important role to play in the coming years.
The spirit that should guide us all is the one that eventually led to an agreement on electoral reform after many years of discussions and failed attempts. Again, I would like to congratulate all parties for coming together on this essential reform. It proves that there is a path for cooperation and consensus in Albanian politics.
On the side of the European Union, we are ready. The European Commission will soon present the negotiating framework, which will be then discussed with the Member States until its adoption by the Council. Once adopted, the negotiating framework will become the new rules of the game for the relationship between Albania and the European Union.
The last stretch is now in front of Albania, in front of you. The Member States have asked Albania to take the final measures before the first Inter-Governmental conference is convened.
It is essential for the country to maintain a spirit of cooperation and deliver those measures in a coordinated and comprehensive way. The Action Plan which is presented today goes in this direction. The elements of the Action Plan have different levels of conditionality, but it is essential that they are addressed in parallel, without losing any time, and with equal political will. Work should continue in parallel of all those elements.
We therefore welcome this Plan, we are looking forward to the inclusive discussion today, and we will continue to support Albania in its implementation, for all its elements.
A successful negotiation needs of course an effective and capable negotiation team. With the nomination of the Albanian negotiating team last week, Albania is getting prepared for these important negotiations. We are looking forward to work with Mr. Mazi's team to that effect.
Negotiations require lot of hard work, discipline and strong technical capacity from the all level of administration, at central and local level. 70% of the EU acquis will have to be implemented at municipal level. Coordination between Tirana and the 61 municipalities will therefore be essential.
As it will be crucial to ensure a thorough engagement and consultation with civil society.
Dear Members of the National Council for European Integration,
The relationship between Albania and the European Union has fundamentally changed on 25 March. The EU integration of the country is not an aspiration anymore. It is concretely happening.
From now on, the EU structures will work even more closely with Albania. We will also have greater scrutiny into the action of the authorities to ensure that the entire Albanian legislation is strictly aligned on that of the EU. And the EU Member States will be more present in this process thanks to the new methodology endorsed last March
This new phase post-post 25 march is both very complex and very simple at the same time. It is complex as it literally means a profound transformation of the whole society. And it is simple because there is only one direction. Looking ahead. Having in mind the aspiration of the 97% of Albanians: being a member of the European Union.