Minister Donohoe conveys message of support for Albania on path to EU membership09 January 2014
Minister for European Affairs, Paschal Donohoe, T.D., today said that continued progress by Albania in the ambitious and encouraging reform process it is undertaking should ensure the granting of candidate status to that country next June.
Minister Donohoe was speaking in Tirana, Albania, at the European Union Information Centre where he was addressing civil society groups, among others, as part of a programme of meetings which includes the Albanian Prime Minister, H.E. Edi Rama, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ditmir Bushati.
“As the first Minister to visit Albania, following the decision of the European Council in December regarding the granting of candidate status to Albania, I will bringing a message of support to the Albanian Government and members of Parliament that their continued efforts and cross-Party support for EU membership play a vital role in the pursuit of EU candidate status.
“Last year, Ireland marked its fortieth anniversary of membership of the European Union and we have benefited greatly from our membership during that time. Albania’s overriding foreign policy objective is membership of the Union and Ireland is committed to supporting that ambition.
“The EU is continually evolving and enlarging and last year saw considerable and positive developments for Croatia, which became a full member, and also for Serbia and Kosovo.
“This year promises to be an important year for Albania on its path towards EU accession. I look forward to Albania receiving candidate status in June, on the basis of continued commitment and implementation by the Government of the ambitious and encouraging reform process it is undertaking. I encourage all involved to continue to work together to build on the advances Albania has made as its works towards candidate status in June.
“EU accession is a long and slow but worthwhile process. I believe that it is in all our interests to welcome new members to the EU that share our values, as this benefits everyone; those seeking to share those values and those seeking to improve them within their own countries.
“The road ahead for Albania will undoubtedly be a challenging one and success will be dependent on the progress made in the reform process. For our part, Ireland will continue to remain a strong supporter of Albania on that journey.”
09 January 2014