Remarks by Commissioner Avramopoulos at the press conference in Tirana following the meeting with Minister of Interior Fatmir Xhafaj, Tirana 12/2/2018

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12 Feb 2018
  • Αβραμόπουλος Avramopoulos
  • Αβραμόπουλος Avramopoulos
  • Αβραμόπουλος Avramopoulos
  • Αβραμόπουλος Avramopoulos
  • Αβραμόπουλος Avramopoulos

Dear all,

I am pleased to be back in Tirana, and I want to thank Minister Fatmir Xhafaj for his hospitality and the constitutive discussions we had earlier.

Albania is part of the European family.

In the context of the current geopolitical instabilities that we face, we all share the same challenges – particularly on fighting irregular migration,  better managing our borders and fighting organised crime and terrorism.

We share a common history, and our future can only be shared and European too.

Only last week, we presented the Western Balkans Strategy, which outlines an ambitious agenda for Albania, and for the wider region.

Albania now has a historic window of opportunity to firmly bind its future to European Union.

I am impressed with what you have achieved already in the area of Justice and Home Affairs.

In particular, I want to thank the Albanian authorities for their commitment to reach a rapid agreement on the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

We will initial this important agreement today.

This agreement will allow for the future deployment in Albania of European Border and Coast Guard teams.

This initialling marks the end of the negotiations.

The agreement will be formally signed at a later date, once both parties will have completed their legal procedures.

This agreement will ensure a better management of irregular migration, in the common interest of both Albania and the European Union.

This agreement is a role model, and we hope to soon conclude similar agreements, which are currently being negotiated, with Serbia and, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

I want to underline that today we also sign an important Memorandum of Understanding concerning drugs policy.

Albania will in the future be able to access funding for initiatives in the field of drugs policy.

I am pleased to say that we can now support initiatives in our joint fight against drug-related crime and abuse.

Just like terrorism, drugs networks know no borders.

These issues can only be addressed by acting together, in a coordinated way.

Prevention is crucial, especially when it comes to drugs, since they often target vulnerable or young people.

I would like to encourage Albania to make full use of this possibility, and to apply for funds to support initiatives in this area. 

This will allow Albania to step up its efforts to tackle the complex problems of drugs production, trafficking and, consumption.

Through all our efforts, we want Albania to come closer to the European Union.

I want to commend Albania for its efforts in tackling irregular migration flows, and encourage it to do more.

We need to bring down the number of cases of visa-free abuses.

We all want to ensure and safeguard visa-free mobility.

I also look forward to strengthening our cooperation in the area of security, and particularly in our joint fight against terrorism, radicalisation, organised crime and, firearms trafficking.

Albania can count on our support,  and we count on Albania’s continuous commitment.

Thank you.

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