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Minister Kulhánek on visits to Skopje and Tirana: the countries of the Western Balkans have our support for joining the EU
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Minister Kulhánek on visits to Skopje and Tirana: the countries of the Western Balkans have our support for joining the EU

 

Minister of Foreign Affairs Jakub Kulhánek (ČSSD) visited North Macedonia and Albania over the weekend, where he met with foreign ministers, prime ministers and presidents. The main topics of discussion were EU enlargement and the continued progress of both countries in the accession process.

Minister Kulhánek was joined on the two-day trip by Foreign Ministers Alexander Schallenberg (Austria) and Anže Logar (Slovenia). During talks with North Macedonia's Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani, the EU ministers praised the remarkable reform process that North Macedonia and Albania have undergone over the past few years. At the same time, they called for both countries to continue their reforms and not be discouraged by temporary delays. "No other country, including current members, has shown as much commitment to the European idea as North Macedonia, having even changed its name," Minister Kulhánek said in Skopje. "The country is truly a model candidate for membership."

He also praised North Macedonia's role in managing illegal migration. The Czech Republic has the largest police contingent in North Macedonia, and since 2016, almost 1,500 Czech police officers have taken tours of duty here.

In Albania, in talks with Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Olta Xhaçka, Minister Kulhánek praised the country's achievements in reforming the judiciary and the fight against organised crime and corruption, as well as its OSCE presidency. He talked about the country's battle with the pandemic and the consequences of the devastating earthquake two years ago, following which Albania received EUR 400m in EU assistance.

Minister Kulhánek was also received by the prime ministers and presidents of both countries – Zoran Zaev and Stevo Pendarovski for North Macedonia and Edi Rama and Ilir Rexhep Meta for Albania. "The Western Balkans are part of Europe and its unification without this region is not complete," the top Czech diplomat assured these leaders. "The integration of the region is in the interest of the EU and should be its strategic priority," he added.

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Minister Kulhánek on visits to Skopje and Tirana: the countries of the Western Balkans have our support for joining the EU

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