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news 27 Sep 17

Albania, Kosovo PMs Plot Joint Path Towards Europe

The prime ministers of Kosovo and Albania met in Tirana to discuss ways to strengthen their cooperation and work together towards EU integration.

Die Morina
BIRN
Pristina
Kosovo and Albanian Prime Ministers, Ramush Haradinaj and Edi Rama | Photo: Kosovo PM office

Kosovo's new Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj, made his first official foreign visit since he took the office on Wednesday to Tirana, where he met his Albanian host, Edi Rama.

After the meeting, Rama stated that the governments of the two mainly ethnic Albanian states in the Balkans intended to focus on making up for lost time in terms of deeping cooperation.

The Albanian Prime Minister said measures would start with “facilitating the administrative procedures for citizens living on both sides of the border", saying they aimed at "free movement" on the border.

"Citizens face an absurd wall that we want to get rid of, in order to start next year with a border similar to the borders between the EU countries," Rama said, explaining, however, that some border controls would still have to exist.

Haradinaj said Kosovo was not alone on its journey towards integration with Europe, and  saw Albania as its closest ally.

"We are determined to make our journey towards the European Union together with Albania," the Kosovo Prime Minister said, after meeting Rama.

In 2015, Albania and Kosovo started to introduce one-side-only controls on their border but were forced to return to double controls on the insistence of the European Commission.

A meeting between the two governments is scheduled for 27 and 28 November because of the historical importance of the date for all Albanians, marking the anniversary of the date when Albania declared independence from the collapsing Ottoman Empire in 1912.

Kosovo and Albania also will jointly celebrate a “Skanderbeg year”, an initiative designed to pay homage to the late-medieval Albanian national hero. 

"We want the Skanderbeg year to be a motive for renewing our relations with each other and act as a guiding star on our common road, side by side, creating a better future for all Albanians,” Rama said during the joint press conference with Haradinaj on Wednesday.

A commission will work on organizing the framework under the symbolic patronage of the Presidents of Albania and Kosovo. 

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