Montenegro And Albania Vow To Confront Challenges Together


By Dusica Tomovic

The governments of Montenegro and Albania held an unprecedented joint cabinet meeting on Tuesday, vowing to work together to confront the challenges of migration, refugees, minorities and security.

The meeting was held in the northern Albanian town of Shkodra, on the path of an emerging route for a small number of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa heading through Albania and Montenegro into European Union member Croatia.

“We will work together to preserve stability,” said Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic. “There is no talk of walls and barbed wire. Our countries are safe.”

Though still a tiny fraction of the numbers that coursed across the Balkans in 2015 and are arriving by boat to Italy, Albania registered more than 2,300 migrants and refugees in the first five months of this year, more than double the number for the whole of 2017.

The two cabinets signed a joint declaration and 12 agreements concerning mutual assistance in emergency situations, on the opening of a joint border crossing, Ckla-Zogaj, for international cargo and passenger traffic and on cooperation in cross-border operations in policing airspace.

Each nation hosts a minority of the other, what Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama called an “extraordinary bridge of co-existence.”

Rama praised the attitude of the Montenegrin authorities towards Montenegro’s ethnic Albanian minority and said that in adopting a Law on Minorities Albania had afforded its own Montenegrin minority the status it deserved.

“It’s not usual that things are positive in our region, but here they are,” Rama said.

Business representative from both countries were expected to discuss cooperation on trade, tourism, energy, transport, agriculture, IT and wood-processing.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (formerly the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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