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Avramopoulos: Albania great progress ahead, EU to support its accession process

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TIRANA, February 12/ATA-I.Vata/- Albania has made great steps ahead over the last years and has now a historical window and opportunity to strongly tie its future to the EU, stated EU’s Commissioner on Migration, Internal Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos in a joint press conference with Minister of Interior Fatmir Xhafaj in Tirana, on Monday.

They signed a statutory agreement on operative cooperation amid European Agency of Coastal and Border Guard and Albania following the bilateral meeting.

The agreement will enable the Agency to provide assistance in the area of external border management as well as enable Coastal and Border Guards European Agency to establish within the Albanian territory in case any unexpected change of migration inflows occur.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed as well on the Republic of Albania participation at the European Union judicial programme, sustained by the parties’ willingness to expand this Memorandum’s objective in concrete initiatives of policies against narcotic substances.

Xhafaj: Albania will no longer be on the map of cannabis cultivation countries

Minister of Internal Affairs Xhafaj said that Avramopoulos visit in Tirana is at an important momentum for Albania, waiting to obtain the official adoption to opening EU accession negotiations.

While praised the fact that Commissioner Avramopoulos is an active supporter of Albania’s aspiration towards integration within the European family, Xhafaj said also that his visit is an encouraging indicator of the support EU provides on underway reforms as well as a huge encouragement to what we have to undertake in the fight against organised crime.

“I reaffirmed our determination that we are doing anything possible to guarantee ultimately that Albania will not be on the map of cannabis cultivation countries to display firmness and concrete results in the fight against organised crime through “The Power of Law” operation, which first outcomes are encouraging; to further increase State Police performance in order to meet the best European standards while in this framework provided information on the Vetting process underway.

Regarding the signed agreement with FRONTEX on “Coastal and Border Guard”, minister Xhafaj said that this will contribute to a better management of the unlawful migration, will further increase EU external borders security as well as strengthen the Agency’s capacity to act in countries close to EU, such as Albania.

According to him, the agreement will enable Albania to benefit from the projects the European Union will provide during its implementation. “Strengthening border control and improving cross-border service points is a priority to us, as a precondition to guarantee people and goods free movement,” Minister of Interior Fatmir Xhafaj said.

Avramopoulos: EU supports Albania

Commissioner started his speech wishing Albania to join the European family in a near future.

“Albania is part of the European family in historical, geographical terms and in the context of geo-political volatility facing us, we share the same challenges with Albania. Particularly in the fight against illegal migration, border management and efficient crime against organized crime and terrorism. We share the same history and our common future will be European as well, Avramopoulos said.

According to him, the Western Balkans strategy brings to the fore an ambitious agenda for Albania and entire region and Albania has a window and a historic opportunity to inextricably bind its future with EU.

“All of us look back in time recounting how Albania was in the eyes of the world a few years ago. Today I am impressed with what you have achieved in our domain, in the field of justice and home affairs. I would like to extend my thanks to the Albanian authorities for their commitment to coming to an agreement with the European Border and Coast Guard Agency,” commissioner said.

Speaking about the agreement signed, Avramopoulos vowed to ensure better management of migration in the mutual interest of EU and Albania.

He encouraged Albania to apply for funding in support for this initiative.

“I would like to congratulate Albania on its efforts for management of illegal migratory flows and also to encourage Albania to take further steps ahead. We need to reduce the number of people abusing visa liberalization regime. All of us want to ensure and preserve visa liberalization,” he said./ a.g /m.b/ /sm/

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