Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok expressed his country’s support on Albania’s EU perspective while underlining the need for “clear and concrete progress” of reforms.
In a joint press conference with his Albanian counterpart Ditmir Bushati today in Tirana, Minister Bloc said:
“The Netherlands continues to be fully committed to Albania’s EU perspective.”
“It is important to keep focus on the consolidation of the judicial reforms and make further progress in the establishment of a solid track record of investigations, prosecutions and convictions in combating organized crime and corruption.”
Blok also explained that the Netherlands were not imposing harsher conditions on Albania’s opening of EU accession negotiations, contrary to what the Albanian media often implies.
“The EU is a union of values. The rule of law and human rights are among it main values, therefore it’s only logical that I use the same criteria for aspiring countries as for the EU member countries. We are doing no more than this.”
The Dutch minister further encouraged the Albanian government to work on the reduction of illegal Albanian migrants seeking asylum in the Netherlands.
“Let me repeat here that such attempts will be fruitless in almost all cases. We work together closely with the Albanian authorities to combat this issue.”
When asked by journalists whether the Dutch parliament will vote for the opening of Albania’s EU accession negotiations this year, Minister Blok responded:
“With no [progress] report of the European Commission at hand, I cannot say anything regarding the final decision [of the Dutch government and parliament]”