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Today, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos will sign two arrangements with Albania and North Macedonia, implementing the Joint Action Plan on Counter-Terrorism for the Western Balkans.
In the aftermath of two devastating earthquakes that hit Albania and ensuing flash floods the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated by the Albanian authorities. In an immediate response, the European Union has already helped mobilise first aid supplies and relief items, such as tents, power generators and water pumps to the affected areas.
On 21 May, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, in cooperation with Albania, will launch its first joint operation on the territory of a non-EU country.
EU ministers of finance met in Brussels today with their counterparts from the Western Balkans and Turkey as part of the region’s annual economic and financial dialogue with the EU. The ministers agreed Joint Conclusions outlining the key economic challenges for the Western Balkans and Turkey, as well as targeted policy guidance addressing the most acute socio-economic reform needs the region has.
"I am very pleased to see the commitment of our partners in the Western Balkans and Turkey to implement important and sometimes difficult structural reforms. Without a functioning rule of law, deep public administration reform and a strengthened economic governance, sustainable growth will not happen. This is the only way to ensure more prosperous and inclusive economies", said Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini is travelling to Tirana, Albania, today to participate at the Brdo-Brijuni Summit which will on 9 May bring together Heads of State or Government of the Western Balkans.
In view of the protests in Albania today, we reaffirm the right of citizens to engage in peaceful demonstrations as an essential feature and a core value of democracy, but we strongly denounce any rhetoric by political leaders calling for violence.
Furthermore, the decision by the opposition to relinquish their mandates seriously hinders the functioning of democracy in Albania. The Parliament is the place where reforms and relevant developments should be discussed and taken forward, not boycotted.
The Commission is today reporting on its assessment of the fulfilment of the visa liberalisation benchmarks by the Western Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia as well as the Eastern Partnership countries: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. This annual report shows that the visa liberalisation requirements for the concerned countries continue to be met but that action – in some cases immediate – is required for a number of countries in specific areas to ensure this continues to be the case.