Chancellor Angela Merkel stated her government will urge EU members to open EU accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia in the next European leaders’ summit in March 2020.
During Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama’s visit in Berlin today, Merkel told journalists: “Above all, we want to reach an agreement at the next European Council in March to start accession negotiations with Albania, and also with North Macedonia.”
Merkel praised the progress achieved by both countries and added that the EU now needs to start talks with them, which will be beneficial for all parties. She singled out the results achieved in the justice reform and urged for it to continue.
The Chancellor assured the Albanian prime minister that Germany will participate in the Donors’ Conference for Albania, on February 17, in Brussels. “The cooperation and aid in the region was impressing, yet it was a heavy blow for Albania,” Merkel said about the November 26 earthquake that left 51 Albanians dead, and damages amounting to hundreds of millions.
Rama said donations for post-earthquake rehabilitation were the primary focus of his visit. He added that other topics discussed were Albania’s and the region’s European integration, the Berlin Process and regional cooperation in the Balkans, the work of the new European Commission, and the new methodology for further EU enlargement that is being drafted.
The Albanian government is expected to finalize a post-disaster needs assessment on February 4. Preliminary assessment shows an over €1 billion in reconstruction costs.