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Joint Visit of Minister Byrne and Minister Tuppurainen to Western Balkans

The Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne T.D., today begins a three-day joint visit to Kosovo, North Macedonia and Albania, together with his Finnish counterpart, Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Ms. Tytti Tuppurainen. The Ministers will meet with senior politicians in each country to discuss the European security situation, European integration of the Western Balkans countries, as well as economic and bilateral cooperation.

In Kosovo, the visiting Ministers are scheduled to meet with Prime Minister, Mr. Albin Kurti and with Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Besmik Bislimi.

In North Macedonia, the Ministers are scheduled to meet the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, H.E. Mr. Stevo Pendarovski, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, Mr. Bojan Marichikj and Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr. Bujar Osmani.

In Albania, Ministers Byrne and Tuppurainen are scheduled to meet with Ms. Olta Xhaçka, Minister for Europe & Foreign Affairs and Mr. Ulsi Manja, Minister of Justice.

Speaking ahead of the joint visit, Minister Byrne said:

“I am delighted to be undertaking this important joint visit to the Western Balkans with my Finnish counterpart, Tytti Tuppurainen. The Western Balkans represents a key priority, both for Ireland and the EU, given its strategic significance which has only been heightened by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

“Ireland has always been a strong supporter of Enlargement and, in particular, of the European perspective and membership ambitions of the six Western Balkans countries. As Minister for European Affairs, I have been clear that more must be done to hasten the acceleration of the Western Balkans into the European Union. Our strong support for this will be one of the key messages I will bring when visiting Kosovo, North Macedonia and Albania.”

“I will also be encouraging the political leaders I meet in all three countries to keep up their impressive reform efforts and strong alignment with EU values and positions. Such efforts are all the more commendable and deserving of praise, given the major pressures on energy and food prices occasioned by Russia’s unjust actions against Ukraine, which are being experienced across the Continent.”

ENDS

Press Office

3 July 2022

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