Grazie, Edi. Thank you so much.
First of all because, as you said, in these difficult times for Europe, regardless if it is with the EU, without the EU, inside the [European] Union, outside the [European] Union, in Europe these are not easy times for anyone but being here today gives me a sense, first of all, of friendship, a true one; second, of gratitude for what you are doing and for we are doing together; and, third, it gives me a sense of hope which is not a word that we are not used to use much in these difficult times.
I believe that what is happening here, beyond the political tensions, beyond the party dynamics – if we take one step back and look at it from a little bit of distance – is huge and good and historic somehow and this gives me happiness. This is not a word we use much in politics, but I have a sense of gratitude for this because seen from outside of Albania with a sense of friendship and closeness to the country, I see how big it is what you are doing, how visionary it is and how much the country is achieving – not necessarily getting the full scope of it yet, but it is immense. I thank you for that.
And I think it is not by chance that only a few days ago you received this very similar message from John Kerry and that the message the European Union and the US are passing to Albania and to Albanian citizens is very similar: you are doing for your country something big and good and sometimes it needs a deep breath, a lot of vision, a lot of determination, a lot of courage, a lot of patience and determination to move forward, but this is what leadership is.
So, it is my sense of gratitude for what you as Albanians, as institutions, as a person, are building for your country and for Europe, because a success story for Albania is a success story for Europe and for the [European] Union. But it is me for a real honour to be here in these crucial hours and in these crucial days. I said what I had to say in the Parliament, and this for me was an honour to be able to address the Parliament on many different things, but also on the key element of the need to have a deep, comprehensive, historic reform of the judiciary which is I believe what counts most. The Albanians believe it is an absolute need for the country.
I think it is quite unprecedented inside Albania and inside any of our countries, the amount of public support we see for such a deep reform. It does not happen often that a political leadership can count on such a huge, massive public opinion orientation when entering into this reform and that is why my main message today is and has been: do it not because it is Brussels asking, but it is because it is your people who is asking for it.
The risk of disconnect between the institutions, the public arena and our people everywhere in Europe is so big and so dangerous for the credibility of the institutions, and the steps you have taken in the last years are so big and good that you cannot simply risk to spoil this excellent path you have built with such a determination and such good results. So this comes also a little bit emotionally because of the friendship that I personally feel towards this country and its people and, that is not only a personal feeling which is also important, it is also something that from an institutional point of view the European Union feels that success of Albania is going to be success of Europe.
The “E” without or with the “U” hoping, actually being sure from my side, that at certain moment we will have the “E” and the “U” completely coinciding. I can tell you this is my personal engagement; this is the European Union institutional engagement with Albania to have this work and done. I believe for real that we must and we can open negotiations and that we must and we can have the role of Albania fully inside the Union. So that it is not only part of Europe, but of the European Union.
Let me spend a couple of words on something on which in Parliament I did not underline enough, because my focus was mainly on the role of the Parliament in these days and responsibility of the Parliament in these days.
The role that your country is playing in the region and on the international level is excellent. This is really something that we know we can count on. And this is precious in these difficult times. I would like to personally thank Ditmir [Bushati] for a very precious coordination and cooperation we have on all what we call with the very strange term “the alignment” which means basically that we agree on everything – it is incredible, it is 100% which means that we are more than partners, we work together, hand-in-hand. As a NATO country, as a friend, as a partner, this is the proof that we are together already in what we do in the region and in the world.
The agreement we just signed on security of information with Ditmir [Bushati] is a symbol I believe of mutual trust we put in each other. And it’s a symbol of the fact that our common work grows, grows every single day, new sectors, new steps, new fields of cooperation. There is a lot you can be proud of. This is a possible turning point for good and for bad. I believe it is going to be a turning point for good. I believe there are a lot of good energies here. Again, the steps the country has taken, very much in the last years, but if you look back 25 years, it is a complete, unimaginable how far the country has gone.
And people of my generation see it in such an impressive way. I think this is because Albania has managed to act, and its leadership, and you personally Edi, rationally, in a balanced way, in an honest and open way as always, and with consistency and determination. I wish you to manage to continue this way and I guarantee that Albania, the Albanian institutions, the Albanian citizens and you personally will have, me personally and Albania, and the European Union constantly at your side in this direction.
I know it’s difficult times but my mood being here is a smile, thanks for the gift, this is not happening too often. I am really grateful and I am really proud for the work we can do together further on.
Link to the video: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I117284