Hubert Perr: The European Union, Albania's Largest Donor and Partner
Director of Cooperation at the EU Delegation in Tirana, Mr. Hubert Perr, talks about the prospects of Albania's EU integration.
We should remember that the EU is one of the major donors of funds coming to Albania, and how these funds are managed, where they are directed, and which sectors benefit the most. In this context, and with the opening of negotiations, we have welcomed to the studio Mr. Hubert Perr, Director of Cooperation at the EU Delegation. Welcome!
Hubert Perr: Thank you very much for inviting me. Let's talk a bit about how the EU supports Albania. I would like to emphasize that the EU is the largest donor and partner, and I believe it is necessary to convey this message, as the wider audience is not aware of it. It is also important to note that the European Union is not only the largest donor, but also the largest investor and trading partner of Albania, which truly demonstrates the importance of this partnership between the EU and Albania.
If we put all of these together in the context of the negotiations and the start of negotiations for accession, we are truly supporting Albania's integration, and this is our objective in terms of financial support to help Albania join the EU. And how do we do this? We support reforms, the negotiation process directly, but what is important to us is also supporting the Albanian citizens for a better life, to find employment, to have social protection, and to have a protected environment so that from now on, before joining the EU, Europe is here and you are also part of the EU.
Mr. Perr, since you also mentioned the accession of our country, regarding the December conference between the EU and Western Balkan countries, where Albania was the hosting country, compared to other countries in the region, how much does our country gain?
Hubert Perr: I believe that the summit was really important, and we should congratulate Albania because it was actually the first summit of the EU and Western Balkans that was held outside the European Union and in Albania. So, congratulations to Albania for making your country proud by hosting it. The summit was important because it has shown concrete results since it focused a lot on energy, the energy crisis, and rising energy prices, which showed that the EU is in solidarity with the Western Balkan countries and wanted us to respond immediately to this crisis, so we have defined a package of 1 billion euros, 500 million of which are grants given to the 6 countries, including Albania, which will receive and already received 80 million euros in grants that will be disbursed to support it quickly. And the second product is also an agreement for future reduction and complete removal of roaming tariffs in the region, and here we see that Europe and the European Union are working.
What will be the benefits for everyone, who benefits the most, and how much will Albania benefit from the removal of roaming charges?
I think roaming is a very good example. What we can do with our financial support is important, but what else can we do? And the reduction of roaming charges is a real benefit for citizens, so the memorandum of understanding signed within that summit allows private sector operators to sign appropriate agreements so that, starting from October 2023, we will gradually reduce roaming charges between the European Union and Western Balkan countries, and within the Western Balkans region. All citizens will benefit from this, and all tourists will definitely benefit from this. And it will make Albania a much more competitive country from an e-business perspective, in the context of attracting foreign direct investment. / Taken from TV Scan.