Open Forum, Mr. Nicholas Cannon, British Ambassador to Albania

November 22nd, 2013

On November 21, 2013, the British Ambassador to Albania, Mr. Nicholas Cannon, participated at the Open Forum with Epoka University students, organized by the Politics and Diplomacy Student Club, which focused on the British perspective on Albania’s accession into the European Union (EU).

During his speech, Mr. Cannon stated that the United Kingdom remains a strong supporter of the EU enlargement towards the Western Balkan countries including Albania, believing that the accession of these countries into the EU will consolidate democracy, the rule of law, good governance and overall security of the region, and it will also expand the single European market.

“The EU itself has been launched as a project of peace and reconciliation in Europe after World War II and each wave of EU enlargement has served as an expansion of the area of democracy, social and economic welfare as well as of security to the different regions of the continent. For regions like the Balkans, with a recent turbulent history, this process carries an even greater significance" - Mr. Cannon stated.

Mr. Cannon also emphasized the fact that despite the very large benefits that EU membership brings, this process also has its costs which should be discussed widely and openly, since a well-informed and conscious public opinion ensures a better and more sustainable support for the process of European integration.

Mr. Cannon also stated that Albania should successfully implement reforms that will ensure an effective fight against organized crime and corruption, which remain key priorities of the EU. In this context, he stressed that the United Kingdom will closely assist the Albanian institutions to meet these standards, but on the other hand, it will also be insistent on the full implementation of these reforms by Albania before it is granted candidate status or the country proceeds to the further stages of European integration.

After the speech delivered by Mr. Cannon, the Forum proceeded with the session consisting of the questions posed by participants and answered by Mr. Ambassador.