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In the Western Balkans, the prospect of EU membership is an important driver for economic reform essential to enhance trade and investments. The trade flow between the EU and the Western Balkans has over the past 10 years more than doubled, reaching almost 44 billion Euros in 2016. Trade is largely liberalised, and more and more European companies are including the Western Balkans in their value chains. This process of business integration has been a powerful engine for creating jobs in EU member states.
Not only the integration process of Albania into the European Union, but the integration process of the entire Western Balkans into the European Union is not a favour we make, it is a matter of self-interest for the European Union itself. This was a message of High Representative Federica Mogherini this afternoon at a special event hosted by the European Parliament. President Antonio Tajani, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati also attended the discussion that focused on Albania's progress in implementing key reforms and its challenges towards EU integration.