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Iohannis, în Tirana: Romania is ready to continue supporting EU efforts to combat illegal migration along Western Balkan routes

January 5, 2023

Although Romania is not on the Western Balkan migration route and is not "a relevant source" of migrant flows within the EU, our country is ready to continue supporting the EU's efforts to combat illegal migration, President Klaus Iohannis told the EU - Western Balkans summit in Tirana on Tuesday."As far as migration is concerned, President Klaus Iohannis emphasized the importance of identifying, together with the states in the region, quick solutions for approaching this common challenge in a responsible manner. The President of Romania welcomed the presentation by the European Commission of a concrete Action Plan to combat illegal migration along Western Balkan routes," the Presidential Administration informs.The head of the state reiterated the need for sustained efforts by Western Balkan partners for limiting illegal migration and encouraged alignment with the EU visa policy.During the talks, President Iohannis also stressed that the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine has serious global consequences, especially for energy and economy, having a disruptive impact on the Western Balkans as well. In this context, he spoke for the unity and solidarity of the democratic world, sending out a message of joint responsibility around fundamental values.According to the Presidential Administration, the head of the state reaffirmed Romania's staunch support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans region, for the further construction of the space of security, prosperity and common values, showing that the accomplishment of substantial reforms in fundamental areas, as well as a strong and sustainable alignment with the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy remain key elements in this direction. "The President of Romania welcomed the new dynamics of the European commitment to the Western Balkans, materialized in the organization of the first Intergovernmental Conferences with Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia, as well as the effective launch of accession negotiations with the two states. President Klaus Iohannis also voiced support for Bosnia and Herzegovina being granted the status of candidate country," the cited source reads.Iohannis also referred to this year's decisions to open the accession processes with the Eastern partners, by granting candidate status to Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova and recognizing the European perspective of Georgia, as concrete steps for the enlargement of the European space of stability, prosperity and common values. In terms of sectoral cooperation, President Klaus Iohannis advocated the need for the Western Balkan region to be considered in the design of the European Union's future strategies in various areas of joint interest. For the management of the energy crisis through diversification, connectivity and the development of renewable sources, he welcomed the European Commission's new energy support package for the Western Balkans.   He added that by holding the European Union-Western Balkans summit meeting the EU member states want to show that they stand with the countries of that region."It is a moment that will present a political point rather than a decision making moment. We are not meeting in the format of a council meeting for decisions, but we want to show that we are standing with the states of the Western Balkans. Apart from that, it is clear that at this moment, when the world has multiple problems and the war started by Russia against Ukraine is affecting everyone, it's good, it's important to show that we are united and in solidarity around the values we believe in. Concrete action is also needed to give an additional chance to the states of the Western Balkans. In-depth sectoral co-operation is needed, and we also need to collaborate in a rather unpleasant area but decisive action is needed - I am talking about migration, uncontrolled, illegal migration. There we need a very good collaboration between the forces that deal with these matters. And, finally, I think it is important to be united in combating disinformation and simply fake news," said Iohannis.At the end of the meeting, the European and Western Balkan leaders adopted the Tirana Declaration, a document that also includes Romania's contribution regarding the importance of the firm and irreversible attachment of the Western Balkan region to the European path. President Klaus Iohannis participated on Tuesday in the European Union - Western Balkans summit meeting in Tirana, Albania, the first event of its kind hosted by a Western Balkan capital city. 

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