(N.B. This is a translation of the original text in Albanian and make contain inaccuracies.)
Peace and Security in the Western Balkans – Toward Integration into the European Union
It is a great pleasure and honour for me to be today a part of this conference; “Peace and Security in the Western Balkans – Toward Integration into the European Union”.
Special appreciation goes to the Universal Peace Federation, for the extraordinary role it has played through many years in (encouraging?) peace and security – two existential pillars of life for each one of us, as well as in the building of a secure future for all generations to come.
I am very excited especially because of your nominating me to become a part of the network of the Ambassadors for Peace, which I consider not only as a very great honour, but also as a responsibility to serve towards the strengthening of human and family values, as well as the spreading of positive and encouraging messages, whilst promoting and working for peace and security in Albania and beyond.
A major part of my life was dedicated to precisely the same field being discussed today in this conference, dealing with accession into the European Union.
Today more than ever, this notion has taken a special meaning, especially after the war in Ukraine that turned on the “red alert” on the European borders by endangering peace and stability not only in the European Union zone, but also in our region.
It is this event that returned focus towards the Western Balkans, which has always had a fragile peace, where the need for Euro-Atlantic leaning and speedy accession into the EU are vital for us.
Peace and stability in the Balkans are directly dependent on the Euro-Atlantic integration of the region as a whole.
Albania is interested in achieving regional stability, for which a key point is the stability of Kosovo, and the immediate recognition of Kosovo by Serbia.
It is time for Kosovo to receive the liberalisation of visas (with the EU) and for her citizens to feel equal to those of other Western Balkan nations.
It is time for Kosovo to attain membership in NATO, because the recent conflicts with Serbia have shown clearly how insecure Kosovo and our whole Region is.
The only way to ensure peace and stability is for the Balkans to turn completely toward Europe. The best interest of Albanians in the region is not the breaking apart or the re-balkanisation of the Balkans, but the integration of these countries into NATO and the EU.
Albania and North Macedonia have just opened a new chapter in this process by opening negotiations for membership and I am convinced that this stage will serve as a trampoline towards the achieving of the rule of law, the building of stable institutions and the achieving of European standards and values, which are a great aspiration of our citizens.
I think that it is time for the EU to think and act in a strategic manner by immediately integrating the Western Balkans region.
At the same time, we have to turn our eyes on ourselves and understand that political separations and personal interests must be removed from political agendas.
The prosperity of our citizens is closely tied with political maturity, seriousness and the prioritizing of national interests over anything else (Editor's Note: i.e. over partisan ones).
This conference today helps us all reflect and understand that we must be together, and we must be many, in order to change reality and to give more development and security to our citizens.
This network of honoured professionals, which are a part of the Universal Peace Federation, can play an extraordinary role in raising awareness of the importance of peace and security, by offering role-models, the best leadership models which affect directly the social and political life of a country.
I wish you much success in this conference and am grateful to you all for your attention!