Jean Asselborn Addresses Tourism, EU Membership on Visit to Albania

At the invitation of the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania, Ditmir Bushati, Luxemourg’s Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Immigration and Asylum, Jean Asselborn, visited Tirana, Albania on Wednesday 3 October 2017.

In Tirana, Minister Asselborn was received by the President of the Republic of Albania, Ilir Meta, before meeting with his Albanian counterpart, Ditmir Bushati. Minister Asselborn also had meetings with Interior Minister, Fatmir Xhafaj, and the Speaker of the Albanian Parliament, Gramoz Ruçi.

Minister Asselborn’s discussions with the Albanian authorities first made it possible to take stock of bilateral relations between the two countries. Noting the excellent quality of the existing relations, the ministers discussed the main avenues to be pursued in order to strengthen cooperation in areas of common interest, particularly in the tourism sector. Welcoming the signing in Luxembourg in March of a bilateral agreement on social security, the ministers also agreed on the mutual interest to rapidly update the double taxation agreement according to the most recent standards of the OECD.

The meetings examined the migration situation. Welcoming the good cooperation with the Albanian authorities in the management of migratory flows and the efforts made by Albania to reduce unfounded asylum requests from its citizens, Minister Asselborn confirmed that the Grand Duchy considers Albania to be a safe country of origin, that all applications are processed by ultra-accelerated procedures and that the rate of recognition of the status of international protection is virtually zero.

The exchange of views concerned the application for accession of the Republic of Albania to the European Union (EU). Minister Asselborn made it clear that Luxembourg continues to support the aspirations of the country, explaining that the EU and Albania share common interests – stability, security and economy – and common challenges – migration, against unemployment, terrorism and radicalisation.

Congratulating his interlocutors on the work being done on judicial reform, Minister Asselborn encouraged the Albanian authorities to continue on this path, explaining that these efforts will bring practical and immediate benefits to the Albanian population. In this context, Jean Asselborn also recalled the other key priorities defined by the European Union for the opening of the accession negotiations, namely reform of public administration, fight against corruption and organised crime and the protection of human rights, fundamental rights and the right to property.

The talks finally provided an opportunity to take stock of the regional situation and the relations Albania has with its neighbours.