In an interview with A2 CNN, Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob emphasized the importance of Albania for Europe as a key gateway for liquefied gas and a source of renewable energy. He also shows that integrating the Western Balkans into the EU as soon as possible is a strategy for the continent’s stability.
A2 CNN: Mr. Prime Minister, what were the outcomes of the Western Balkans-Western Balkans Summit in Tirana?
Golob: There were several, but what I want to emphasize is that the Tirana Summit was crucial from a strategic standpoint for a variety of reasons. The two most significant ones that I want to make public are that entering the union with the Western Balkan countries can help us do many vital things in the interest of everyone. This is the first conclusion; the second is about integrating the region into the European family as a policy that benefits both the Western Balkans and the European Union. This was not achieved at the June meeting in Brussels six months ago. It was very clear today. Each of us realized that it is in the EU’s best interests to incorporate the Western Balkan countries into the union as soon as feasible.
A2 CNN: How critical is it for Tirana to host this conference in Albania? And what message do Slovenia and the European Union like to send to Albanians?
Golob: In reality, this is the first time such a meeting has taken place outside of the European Union’s borders. And it is also vital to inform you that we appreciate the good work you have done so far in Albania, as well as your patience in carrying out the tasks. That is why we have come to show you that you are a member of our family. This is a critical message.
A2 CNN: Do you feel that Albania and the region will be able to join the EU with full rights more quickly? Should we continue to wait patiently for the process?
Golob: I would add that taking the approval also applies to the duties and challenges that we face as individuals and as a society. Europe is dealing with Russian aggression, particularly in Ukraine. All of these processes are accelerating. This is beneficial not only to the Western Balkans but also to the stability of the entire continent. And I believe that this serves to raise awareness of the need to speed EU enlargement, as well as to assist us in making this a reality.
A2 CNN: You also discussed the energy situation at the summit. How will the EU assist Albania and the region in overcoming this crisis? Will there be specific projects?
Golob: We will accomplish it in two ways. First, we must focus on the European market, which is the only market, because you are paying a high price for energy in part because of what what we are are doing, or perhaps because of what we are not doing. As a result, we need to restructure Europe’s energy market in order to lower electricity prices, a choice that will also affect Albania. This is the first method; the second is through the EU energy aid package, which also provides you with the possibility to absorb other funds through projects. We must state that the EU now recognizes that the region, particularly Albania, can serve as an access point for liquefied gas, connecting the region to Europe. It can also be used to generate renewable energy.
A2 CNN: Thank you for this interview on A2 CNN, Mr. Prime Minister!
Golob: Thank you very much!