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The Berlin Process or 'Open Balkan', Manuel Sarrazin: The Balkans should raise expectations towards the Process

The Berlin Process or 'Open Balkan', Manuel Sarrazin: The Balkans

The special envoy of the German government in the Western Balkans, Manuel Sarrazin, in an interview with DE about the region's challenges on the way to the EU.

Deutsche Welle: Mr. Sarrazin, you participated in the Interconnection Forum in Tirana. How important is it to talk in these times about the interconnectedness in the Western Balkans?  

Manuel Sarrazin: I am from Hamburg, which is the third largest port in Europe and everyone in Hamburg is afraid of the fact that your region (Western Balkans) can become the center of all international shipping lines, because you are in the Mediterranean . The route is very short. I can tell you that the region has a very large potential for connectivity, not only in terms of transport from other regions, but also to bring products to the European market. This is one of the key themes of connectivity in the region.  

During your visit to Albania, you met with the country's prime minister, foreign minister, civil society actors, etc. What impressions did you get from these meetings?  

You know that Albania has already entered the negotiation process with the EU. We finally managed to open the negotiations and at first we are happy and happy, but now of course we want to see Albania progress. We want to open chapters, close chapters, we want to be clear about the standards. Therefore, the path of reforms must be followed. We are fortunate that the government will follow this path, but we are also beginning to push forward, push these issues forward.  

DW: So Albania, North Macedonia and other countries have a difficult road ahead?

Of course, it is not an easy road. You need to transform not only the legislation, but the whole country. You have to ask the questions: how will the procedures be developed, how will transparency be done, how much should civil society be involved in this process and what quality will this process have. Albania is in the first stages but fortunately the work is starting and this is also my main impression: you must be critical of the details, because the details matter. We are finally starting the real negotiations, since Albania had remained in the country for a long time, for unfortunate reasons.  

When talking about the Western Balkans, is it more important to talk about the Berlin Process or about the other initiative of some leaders of the region, "Open Balkans"?  

Në datën 3 nëntor do të mbahet samiti i Berlinit dhe këto javë unë po udhëtoj në Ballkan për të rritur pritshmëritë ndaj Procesit të Berlinit. Kemi besimin se do të ecim përpara përsa i përket Tregut të Përbashkët Rajonal, solidaritetit në energji dhe Agjendës së Gjelbër, si dhe bashkëpunimit mes të rinjve në rajon. Pra, duam të rrisim pritshmëritë e Procesit të Berlinit dhe kjo është diçka e mirë. Ky Proces synon të arrijë gjëra pozitive për qytetarët e këtij rajoni. Nuk është kundër këtij apo atij projekti. Procesi i Berlinit ka të bëjë me çuarjen përpara të gjërave dhe ne po përpiqemi të ndihmojmë në këtë zhvillim.  

Z. Sarrazin, përmendet rininë dhe rëndësinë e saj, e cila është dhe një ndër temat e Forumit të Ndërlidhshmërisë. Por në të njëjtën kohë, të rinjtë po ikin nga Shqipëria dhe nga vendet e tjera të rajonit…  

We want to give a European perspective to this issue. Most people do not leave for themselves, but because they want to give their children better living conditions. The road to Europe is the answer to this phenomenon. We want to make the European way more reliable and clearer, so that trust is restored. And we can restore the faith of these people. Regional integration, the Common Regional Market is one of the steps. Of course, I understand when an individual decides to seek his fortune in a place he thinks is better. But I think we should not blame individuals, but we should improve the conditions so that more people can stay in these wonderful places and seek their fortune here. They should not leave their places. / DW

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