Ministry for Foreign Afairs and Europe - Republic of Albania

06/03/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/04/2024 06:06

Minister Hasani remarks at the launch of the training program on EU affairs by the College of Europe in Tirana

A few weeks ago, we celebrated the Day of Europe at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs in the presence of a lot of friends. Here we are again to welcome the initiative by the College of Europe in Bruges, supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands to organize a tailored program on EU affairs and regional cooperation for young civil servants from all around the Western Balkans. Such steps make our future in Europe become more tangible, and more real. This is the first real embodiment of a visionary project, born in 2022, at the EU - Western Balkans summit in Tirana to bring the College of Europe in Tirana.

Therefore, I would like to start off by wholeheartedly thanking Rector Mogherini.

Dear Federica, your last decade has been dedicated to strengthening Europe and the EU project by also focusing on the advancement of the EU path for the countries of the Western Balkans.Every day that you spent in Tirana in the last months, by to lay the foundation of the Tirana Campus of the College of Europe, and today with its first tailored program and the eventual commencement of its first course of studies, you made a tangible contribution to the EU future of this region.

Without the political and financial support of the EU institutions and the Member States, the Tirana campus would not have seen the light of day and become ready to expect the first group of students already in the academic year 2024-2025.

"Strict but fair, and engaged," we heard that expression so many times from our Dutch friends. The project we are launching here today is the engaged approach of the Netherlands. So, a special thank you goes for them.

Last but not least, our thanks go to the Albanian government, Prime Minister Rama, the responsible ministers, and the mayor of Tirana, for the vision, strong will and immediate response to fulfill our obligations and make the College of Europe in Tirana a reality in the shortest possible term.

Dear participants at the regional course,

This initiative will mark your professional journey in EU affairs and regional cooperation, and will hopefully pave the way for hundreds or thousands to follow this path in the future. It seems a simple and normal step for you, but in fact it is one giant leap for the young people of the Western Balkans. The Tirana Campus of the College of Europe will be putting our region on the map for EU professionals. You are the first beneficiaries of that long term project.A vision of European Western Balkans is the cause that brings us together here-European institutions, academics , member states, and all of you who applied and came here today to prepare yourself for the challenge and strive for that objective in your professional life.

Some would argue we have a troubled region, with long shadows from the past hunting our present and future. We cannot do much about the past, but we can do a lot about the present and the future. Your devotion to this journey is solid proof that the future we speak about does exist, that it is within the reach. It is a common project.

I believe for all of you coming from the region, you will feel the spirit of Europe here. Use that feeling and build networks that will make our region stronger and fit for the purpose of achieving, at last, the EU integration of the Western Balkans.

On this occasion, a special congratulation goes to the four participants from my country, and to MariolaÇeku from the MEFA.

Let me close by saying to you, young colleagues, that Europe is where OUR hearts lie! And your hearts arebeating here today. Welcome to the College of Europein Tirana!

Be brave, be Europeans!