President Kersti Kaljulaid said she supported European Union enlargement when she met with Albanian Head of State Ilir Meta at Kadriorg on Tuesday.
Kaljulaid affirmed Estonian support for the open doors policy of the European Union and to Albania's wish to start accession negotiations.
"Estonia is, has been, and will be a strong supporter of European Union enlargement. Keeping the doors open has always been part of our vision of EU neighbouring and enlargement policy," the president said at a press conference.
"Of course, countries who are striving towards the EU, have to continue with reforms, but these reforms – the rule of law, improving business climate, repecting the democtratic values – are not necessary for the EU, these are for the people of their countries."
President Kaljulaid stressed that for the countries who are on the path of fulfilling the criteria, there has to be a clear message that one day they are invited to the accession negotiations, and this is even more important than any specific date.
Estonia and Albania are both members of NATO and share the values of collective defense. There has also been cooperation in the field of ICT, but both Heads of State found that there is still room for closer ties. This included discussing ways to strengthen business-to-business contacts as well as climate and energy issues.
President Meta is on a working visit to Estonia, during which he will also meet with Speaker of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas and visit the e-Estonia Showroom, NATO Cyber Defense Cooperation Center and the Estonian School of Diplomacy.
A Memorandum of Understanding between the foreign ministries of Estonia and Albania was signed today in Kadriorg, according to which Estonia is ready to share its experience in joining the European Union.
Editor: Helen Wright