Albanian Diplomacy Challenges towards SAA Ratification Process

Tirana, October 2006

On 14 October 2006, AGENDA Institute and MJAFT Foundation jointly organized the lecture on “Albanian Diplomacy Challenges towards SAA Ratification”, in the framework of EU Lecture Series.

The guest speaker was H.E. Besnik Mustafaj, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Albania. The participants were mainly students of political science and international relations.

Minister Mustafaj affirmed that the SAA could have been signed in 2004 if the socialist government would have demonstrated the political will to fight corruption. He stated that “Albanian Democratic Government negotiated only a month and that was for technical details on the anchovy imports, which is preferred in some cuisines worldwide, while more than 95 percent of the negotiations were concluded by the previous government.”

Minister Mustafaj emphasized that what carries a heavy weight in this process is the ‘political dimension’ as this agreement must be ratified by the parliaments of 25 Member States of EU. “Two principles are vital in diplomacy: sincerity and realism.” During his speech, Minister Mustafaj declared about the expected agenda of the EU Member States in ratifying the SAA. “We have received serious promises by some countries of the EU to ratify the agreement by 2007, but some of these countries will undergo elections in the near future. Albania has 43 diplomatic missions throughout the world today, 35 of which are located in Western Europe and this is very promising, too”.

Another issue raised during the debate was the facilitation of the visa regime. Minister Mustafaj expressed optimism saying that the European Commission has drafted an agreement which will be negotiated with the Albanian Government. He highlighted that “the successful war on corruption of the present Albanian government has positively influenced this process, together with border control and the engagement of Albania to readmit Albanian immigrants from abroad”.

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