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Albania in the EU: religions come together to support adhesion to the “common European home”

With a joint statement submitted to SIR, the religious communities in Albania – Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim, Evangelical, Bektashis – voiced their support to the Country’s EU accession. Appeal to government leaders and to the people to undertake the requested reforms, with special focus on families, young people, and the poor. "We form part of Europe”

We, religious Communities in Albania: the Muslim Community, the Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church, the Bektashi Community and the Evangelical Fraternity, express our most sincere congratulations to the Albanian people, upon the recommendation of the European to open accession negotiations with the European Union.

Our journey into Europe, to which we naturally belong, is a fact and it is our people’s wish. The founding fathers of the Albanian State, that include the clerics of our religious Communities, firmly believed in this sense of belonging. Likewise, in distant times, Albania’s religious leaders never questioned the European vocation of the Albanian people, a vocation whereby in a free society everyone is entitled to enjoy equal rights, including the fundamental right to freely profess religious traditions. We firmly believe that freedom of speech and religion, the family, peace, solidarity, are values representing the cornerstone of our society that yearns to become a member of the European family.

We, religious Communities in Albania, intend to offer a model of harmony and fraternity, as well as a service to mankind, to society, and to the legitimate aspirations of our people, that includes entry into the European family.

This harmony and this model constitute a source of richness that we carry with us in our journey towards Europe, beneficial to the same States that today represent this political and social organization, described as our very own precious value on numerous occasions. That’s why we are here, full of enthusiasm and joy, pledging to promote this spirit in every circumstance and in every place, ensuring that it is never violated, neither by internal factors nor by external malicious drives. On this occasion, with tenacity and determination, we call upon everyone’s conscience, upon the political realm as a whole and upon the government in particular, to continue working, with everyone’s contribution, for the achievement of the standards requested to become a part of Europe. In particular, we wish to highlight the efforts characterising the justice system reform process, mentioned also in our previous statements, along with the fight on corruption and for the eradication of poverty in Albania.

We must not turn a blind eye to poverty, to youth unemployment and support to families experiencing economic difficulties

carried out through the appropriate tools of social assistance. Prosperity grows with labour, thus it is imperative to intensify efforts to ensure that the energy and the creativity of Albanian youths, along with the contribution of our enterpreneurs, are valued and encouraged. By doing so, many families and youths will stop emigrating, and it will put an end to the feelings of discouragement experienced on many occasions by young people living in our Country. We have the moral obligation to encourage and instil hope in the future of our Country. We must “do our homework”, and thus stand tall as we ask for the support of all European Countries.

All our religious communities hereby make a final, albeit equally important, appeal to West-European governments. Through their diplomatic seats accredited in Tirana, we call upon EU Member Countries to give steady support to this process. It is for the good of Europe that also the Albanian people – and ultimately all the Western Balkans – become a part of it.

The Albanian people form part of Europe, and without this reciprocity we would be flawed: us without Europe and Europe without us.

We share the same history, which extends beyond the past decades. It’s thousand-years long, encompassing the common roots – cultural and social alike – that unite us. Wholeheartedly, and with determination, we enjoin you to support the opening of negotiations, and, soon after, our Country’s adhesion to the European Union. In the belief that our words will not be lost, we reaffirm our commitment so that , through our prayers to the Lord and the words of our communities, we may always be staunch promoters and supporters of what is good, of peace and hope for the future. May the Lord Bless Albania and us all!

The Muslim Community of Albania

The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania

The Catholic Church

The Bektashi Community

The Evangelical Fraternity

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Balcani