European Union candidate Albania is "a strategic partner in the Balkans" and should join the 27-member bloc "before 2030", Italy's foreign minister, Antonio Tajani told reporters in Rome on Wednesday.
"For us, Albania is a strategic partner in the Balkans and we are in favour of its European Union entry," Tajani said at a joint press conference with Albania's premier Edi Rama.
''I hope this can happen before 2030," Tajani stated.
Italy views the Western Balkans as "a priority of our foreign policy,'' Tajani added.
"We insist on an accelerated integration process," Tajani underlined.
The press conference took place after the second Italy-Albania Joint Economic Committee held at the foreign ministry.
Italy's agriculture minister, Franco Lollobrigida, environment and energy security minister, Gilberto Pichetto Frattin and infrastructure and transport ministry undersecretary Tullio Ferrante also attended Wednesday's meeting.
Besides Rama, Albania's energy minister Belinda Balluku, agriculture minister Anila Denaj, finance minister Ervin Mete, business and companies minister Delina Ibrahimaj and newly appointed European affairs and foreign minister Igli Hasini, took part in Wednesday's meeting.