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Minister Mate visits Albania as it begins dialogue on visa liberalisation

Dragutin Mate, Slovenian Minister of the Interior and President of the Justice and Home Affairs Council, visited Tirana today and joined Franco Frattini, Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security, to begin dialogue on visa liberalisation with the Republic of Albania.

In November 2006 the Council authorised the Commission to open negotiations with Albania on visa facilitation. The negotiations were concluded in April 2007, while the agreement was signed in September. For all Western Balkan countries, including Albania, visa facilitation agreements entered into force this year. The agreements envisage the possibility of initiating dialogue on a visa-free regime, which can be done by the European Commission on its own initiative. So far the Vice-President of the European Commission, Franco Frattini, has announced the beginning of dialogue on visa liberalisation with Serbia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro.

On this occasion, Minister Mate stated: “Slovenia supports the beginning of dialogue with the Western Balkan countries, as this will contribute to their drawing closer to the European Union faster, which is one of the priorities of the Slovenian EU Presidency.” He expressed his expectation that today’s event will strengthen mutual trust between Albania and the EU, while at the same time giving a clear signal to Albania that in the process of approaching European integration it is on the right track.

Also, on the same day, Minister Mate visited Slovenian police officers in the UNMIK police mission in Kosovo to thank them for their work in the mission. He met with the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Kosovo, Mr Lawrence Rossini, with whom he exchanged views on the operation of the police mission. He also had a brief meeting with the Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr Zenun Pajaziti, and they discussed the establishment of contacts and assessed possibilities for cooperation between the Slovenian police and police forces in Kosovo.


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Date: 28.03.2008