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The process of negotiations for EU accession is "an extraordinary mechanism of transformation" for Albania, the acting Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania, Gent Cakaj, stated on Monday.

He spoke about this at a press conference he held in Bucharest alongside his Romanian counterpart, Teodor Melescanu.

"In one way or another, we can say that the process of negotiation, for Albania is far more important than the accession itself, for the negotiations offer us the mechanism that we need to transform the country and stimulate the reforms," said the official.

Thus, he added, "the process of negotiation for Albania is an extraordinary mechanism of transformation." "The European Commission recommended that Albania should start the discussions related to the accession (...) based on the performances of this country in all the priority fields," Cakaj pointed out. In this respect, he mentioned the justice reform in Albania and appreciated Romania's support. This support "is not just part of the stable bilateral relations, but it reflects a vision on Europe in general and on stability in the Western Balkans in particular."

In his turn, Teodor Melescanu spoke about the "re-energizing of the relations between Romania and Albania" and about the fact that the Western Balkans region is a priority of the Romanian presidency of the Council of EU.

"I assure you that Romania will remain the same friend and firm and active supporter of the European objective of the Republic of Albania," Melescanu said. He added that Romania is ready to grant assistance to Albania in the EU accession process, an assistance based on its own experience of the same process.

"What we want further is that the entire region progress on its way to the EU, based on its own merits and on the accomplishment of the accession criteria, in the context of our commitment to further support the EU expansion policy," said Teodor Melescanu.

The head of the Romanian diplomacy evoked the European Commission's report published on May 29, "which includes an express recommendation regarding the negotiations with Albania for accession to the European Union, a recommendation that Romania supports firmly and will continue to promote at the European Council level."

"This recommendation is a recognition of the tangible reforms made by Albania," he pointed out.

In this context, the reform is also to the benefit of the citizens of the country in Western Balkans, Melescanu also said.

"We encouraged the Albanian authorities to continue the reform process, not just in the context of the achievement of the objective of accession to the European Union, and especially for its beneficial effects for the economy of the country and the welfare of the population. I underscored the importance of the internal political dialogue, which is important for the stability of the country and the good organisation of the local elections," said the head of the Romanian diplomacy.

Moreover, he spoke about the collaboration between Romania and Albania within NATO.

"Security in our region is indivisible, we have the same security interests in the region we belong to and we support the open doors policy in what concerns NATO. AGERPRES (RO - author: Oana Ghita, editor: Florin Marin; EN - author: Cristina Zaharia, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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