Tirana, Aug 1 (EFE).- Spain fully supports Albania’s integration into the European Union, prime minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday.
“If there is an outstanding student in the EU accession process, it is Albania, because of its commitment and the reforms it has made,” Sanchez said during a joint press conference with his Albanian counterpart Edi Rama in Tirana.
The EU opened accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia last month after Bulgaria finally lifted its veto on Skopje joining over a cultural dispute.
Albania was granted EU candidacy in 2014 but its accession to the bloc is tied to its neighbor North Macedonia.
Rama thanked Sanchez for Spain’s “unwavering” support in Albania’s EU ambitions and said Madrid was a “friend” to Tirana despite their differences regarding Kosovo.
“Two good friends can have their differences,” Remi said.
Spain does not recognize Kosovo’s independence while Albania was one of the first countries to do so after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
The comments came after new border rules proposed by Pristina sparked tensions in the north of the country over the weekend, forcing Kosovo to postpone the implementation of the rules until September.
Sanchez was on the last leg of a four-day trip to the Western Balkans in which he also visited Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia.
The prime minister expressed Spain’s support for all five countries’ inclusion in the EU and called for unity in the region amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. EFE