Albania has met all the conditions for opening accession talks to EU membership, the President of the European Council said Friday. 

“Accession talks should start as soon as possible, ” said Charles Michel.

His remarks came at a news conference with Prime Minister Edi Rama in the Albania capital of Tirana during his second stop on a tour of western Balkan countries.

Michel said the EU is working to provide tangible benefits for all Albanians and partners in the region.

”That means already accelerating integration now rather than waiting until accession negotiations are fully completed. In June … we will organize a meeting of the 27 EU leaders in Brussels with you and the other Western Balkan leaders,” said Michel, who emphasized that Albania is a part of the European family.

”The EU remains Albania’s biggest trading partner and largest provider of financial assistance. It is more important than ever to re-energize the enlargement process. Today’s challenges are forcing us to think beyond the traditional models for innovative ways of thinking and innovative ways of working. And creating new incentives for reforms to accelerate EU integration,” he said.

Michel met Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Tuesday in Belgrade.

He said the EU would support a speedier accession of Serbia into the wealthy bloc and help the country that is dependent on Russian gas and oil to diversify its energy supplies.

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