The key project that can contribute to further cooperation between Albania and Macedonia is the continued construction of the east-west European road and rail network, the countries’ foreign ministers concluded Monday at a meeting in Tirana.
Although both were firm on the need to speed up the construction of the network, known as Corridor 8, neither side was specific about the timetable for the completion of the project.
Despite good intentions, the two countries have still no railway or highway linking them and only parts of the corridor are completed. Both sides previously said they would need foreign crediting to support the project.
Roughly one quarter of Macedonian residents are ethnic Albanians, a fact which observers see as a potentially favorable for business and cultural cooperation.
“We’ll continue building Macedonia as a model of multi-ethnic and democratic society,” Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki told the press, adding that he hoped that Macedonians living in Albania would also be treated as equal citizens.
Both countries share a common goal of joining the European Union as soon as possible and in that spirit the ministers agreed to exchange experiences.
Milososki and his Albanian counterpart, Ilir Meta, previously signed a bilateral cooperation protocol that, among other elements, envisages collaboration between the Macedonian and Albanian foreign service education departments.
Albanian and Macedonia were set to enter NATO together in 2008 but due to Greece’s objection over the country’s name, Macedonia’s accession was blocked.