Transport and water sectors were the main topics discussed on Wednesday by the Head of European Union Delegation to Albania Ambassador Romana Vlahutin and the newly-appointed Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Sokol Dervishi.
Ambassador Vlahutin pointed to the importance of prioritisation of needs in the area of transport. She emphasized the need for further efforts towards the alignment of the Albanian legislation with the EU transport acquis and the development of a transport infrastructure network that is in line with investment priorities agreed under the Regional Connectivity Agenda of the Berlin process.
"The European Union has provided substantial support through major investments in road infrastructure, water and sewerage systems of the country. It is now of utmost importance to ensure the sustainability of these investments aiming at improved services for citizens and improved abilities to attract investment," Ambassador Vlahutin said.
She encouraged the Government to continue its efforts in addressing road safety, which remains a cause for serious concern in Albania, and the limited ability of the water and sewerage operators to manage and maintain the infrastructure built through the support of the EU's Instrument of Pre-Accession (IPA). Proper water management is one of the key preconditions for economic growth as it affects the quality of life of ordinary citizens and the country's business environment, she said.
Ambassador Vlahutin reiterated the EU's commitment to further support the transport sector through a budget support of EUR 24 million over the next three years which will be delivered based on the Government's progress towards achieving the agreed results.
The EU has provided over EUR 215 million for the sectors of transport and water and sewerage systems under IPA I (2007-2013).