The visit of the parliamentary delegation, led by the President of the National Assembly, Tsetska Tsacheva, to Tirana has started with several meetings at the highest state level. The Bulgarian parliamentarians conferred with the President of Albania’s National Assembly Jozefina Topalli, who has invited the Bulgarian delegation. They had meetings with the Minister of European Integration Mailinda Bregu, with Prime Minister Sali Berisha and the President of Albania Bamir Topi.
The relations between Bulgaria and Albania are based on solid grounds of friendship, cooperation and partnership without any open or disputed issues. This was the atmosphere of all the talks held in Tirana. The two countries are interested, more than ever before, in concentrating their efforts to enlarge the areas of bilateral cooperation and the realization of common projects.
Bulgaria has always expressed and continues to support the European integration of Albania in accordance with the decisions of the European Union, stated the President of Bulgarian parliament Tsetska Tsacheva at the meeting with Albania’s Parliament Chairwoman Jozefina Topali. Tsetska Tsacheva added that Bulgaria was ready to extend full support and share with Albania its valuable experience in the process of EU accession, so as to keep it from doing the mistakes of Bulgaria in its way to the EU. She shared with the colleagues from Albania that in the last years the criteria and conditions set for membership before the candidate countries, including for the last one accepted, had become higher, something helpful in stimulating more decisive reforms and policies. Even 5 years after the accession of Bulgaria, our European partners continue to demand from us, noted the chair of parliament. She has informed in details the Albanian deputies about the legislative activity of the Bulgarian parliament and the ongoing reforms in the country. In reference to reforms she mentioned that they were carried out more easily before the accession, because political forces at this stage were more united and focused on the cause of the EU membership. Both chairwomen agreed their countries’ parliaments needed more dynamic relations – by way of their friendship groups and between their parliamentary committees. They expressed satisfaction with the beneficial and fruitful cooperation between the two countries in the international organizations.
As most important and priority fields of cooperation between Bulgaria and Albania they defined the economy, trade, tourism, energy and transport and agreed that all institutions in charge should make more concerted and consistent efforts in this direction. That was the common understanding expressed at the talks of the Bulgarian parliamentarians with the President and the Prime Minister of Albania. During her meetings with Albanian officials, the Chair of Bulgarian parliament gave a clear signal that Bulgaria was considering a priority the construction of Transport Corridor No 8, including the construction of the railroad Sofia – Skopie – Duras and the infrastructure and energy interconnections in the Region. Tsetska Tsacheva has added that Bulgaria was interested in signing a new intergovernmental agreement for economic cooperation between Bulgaria and Albania. Prime Minister Sali Berisha extended through the delegation greetings toward his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov and confirmed his invitation for him to visit Tirana.
The other topics discussed during the talks were the reforms and policies of the two countries in the fight against organized crime and corruption, the regional cooperation as a factor for peace and stability in Southeastern Europe, the cooperation in the field of education, science and culture.
The Bulgarian delegation included the National Assembly Vice-President and Chair of the friendship group between Bulgaria and Albania, Ekaterina Mihailova, the Deputy Chair of the Committee on Environment and Waters, Nikolay Rashev, the Deputy Chairman of the friendship group and member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Spas Panchev.