“The agenda characterising the work of today’s meeting, which focuses on the preparation of the Western Balkans Trieste Summit to take place on July 12 this year, includes themes of great relevance our foreign policy, namely the EU enlargement process, security, managing migration flows, boosting regional cooperation.” With these words, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, addressed via videoconference the Italian Ambassadors to the countries of the Adriatic-Balkan area, convened in Tirana.
The meeting, held in the capital of Albania, was aimed at organising the Summit to be chaired by Italy and held in Trieste on 12 July 2017. The Summit will analyse the political and economic situation in the Balkan area and draft new and useful strategies to enhance regional cooperation, also on the basis of the expectations of the countries of the region.
The Minister highlighted that in such a particularly complex regional political scenario, Italy must continue supporting, also at a political level, the European integration of the Western Balkan countries.
“The enlargement process to include the Western Balkans is essential for the prosperity and stability of the region, and has an immediate impact on the stability and security of the entire continent,” underlined Minister Alfano. “In this perspective, The Trieste Summit is an invaluable opportunity to give a new impetus to the process. This is a road fraught with hurdles and challenges and demands caution, determination and a political vision, also to avoid the risk of a stalemate or backtracking,” added the Minister. Minister Alfano urged the Ambassadors to persevere “to consolidate the role of Italy as a strategic partner for the countries in the region, also in parallel to the actions taken within the Security Council.”
“Italy,” Minister Alfano added, “must lead other European partners towards proposing collaboration projects in new contexts and towards more directly involving the Balkan Countries in drafting proposals,” said Minister Alfano. Undersecretary of State Vincenzo Amendola, who chaired the meeting in Tirana, accompanied by Ambassador Michele Giacomelli, special envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for the preparation of the Western Balkans Summit, joined the Italian Ambassadors in reviewing all the aspects of the preparatory process of the Trieste Summit, starting with the priorities for the Italian Chairmanship and going through all the initiatives to be promoted jointly.
“Italy, a country that more than others has been committed to contributing to the regional integration process, underlines the need to make an effort to strengthen and develop fora for political dialogue and common projects to enhance the spirit of collaboration among the countries in the area,” said Undersecretary of State Amendola in Tirana. On the fringes of the event, Mr. Amendola met with the Albanian Deputy Prime Minister, Niko Peleshi, the Finance Minister, Arben Ahmetaj and the Transport Minister, Sokol Dervishai, to take stock of the current situation and hear Albanian evaluations and expectations.