Published on: 10 February 2014

Strategic partnership: A model for regional cooperation

The year 2014 coincides with desired expectations and our common destination. Albania and Kosovo have gone through a laborious path and through the Prizren meeting they are materializing the will, the wish and the commitment of many generations to initiate common projects of strategic and long-term importance. Prizren symbolizes for us the meeting point of long historical and state-building efforts as well as the city of religious and ethnic co-existence.

Appreciating the unique importance of our relationship and the vital cooperation between our two countries, on 11 January was held the first joint meeting of our two governments. This proves the Euro-Atlantic orientation of our two countries and the need to address common issues in a more concerted manner. This new form of cooperation between Albania and Kosovo is of strategic importance for us, serves as a stabilizer for the region and strengthens our common European future.

By promoting such joint enterprises, Albania and Kosovo give their direct contribution to peace, security and stability in the region. At the same time, both our countries shall serve as promoters of the further Europeanization of our region.

With this in mind, the Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership and Cooperation signed by Prime Ministers Edi Rama and Hashim Thaçi, materializes the mutual and long-term commitment to transform our bilateral relationship into a new model, inspired by best practices in the region and beyond.

The first joint government meeting drew the guiding lines of cooperation in various areas such as foreign policy and security, justice, economy, energy and transportation, education and culture. It also brought forth concrete agreements that prepare the further anchoring of our countries into European waters.

Certainly, these policies aim at improving the daily lives of our citizens, for generations to come, according to the common objective of the two Albanian states to become part of the European Union.
Strategic projects in infrastructure and energy, such as the connection of Kosovo with the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) or the construction of the “energy highway” shall give new impetus to the economic and social development of both our countries.

The structured dialogue among Benelux countries has acted as an inspiration for us, which is in itself an indication that we have taken the appropriate steps towards our common EU path. This model will not only serve the cooperation between our two countries, but shall also act as a reference point for further cooperation amongst other countries in the region.

From now on, the structured dialogue shall replace the model that has been absent for such a long time. It is important to mention that no fellow Albanians are left out of attention by the Albania-Kosovo structured dialogue. Those who were not physically present in the government to government meeting were definitely part of the discussion and of the agreements that were signed.

It is important to remember that we need to transform the freedom we have gained with so many efforts throughout the centuries - thanks to the full support of our strategic partners, the US and EU - into a positive energy and give our citizens the opportunity to build policies and implement instruments that in the end shall be translated into improved living standards. We feel confident that we have charted the future. This is just the beginning of a new chapter.

By Mr. Ditmir Bushati and Mr. Enver Hoxhaj