TIRANA, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) is less secure without the western Balkan countries being part of it, the Speaker of the Albanian parliament, Gramoz Ruci, said here on Tuesday while attending the annual meeting of representatives of the parliamentary committees on defense and security of southeast Europe.
Addressing the participants, Ruci emphasized that Albania's foreign and security policy is a hundred percent aligned with that of the EU.
"Governing security is not an easy task in southeast Europe due to the overlap of issues inherited from history: weak economies, powerless welfare systems and manifestations of ethnocentrism and nationalism," Ruci said.
He underlined that transnational threats, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, trafficking and organized crime coexist in the western Balkans region, adding that "the region is equally endangered by the cyber risk and other dangers related to technological development."
According to Ruci, while being challenged with security and stability issues, southeast Europe and especially the western Balkan countries also have to tackle harmful stereotypes perpetuated by the rest of the continent and by the west.
Ruci stressed that the western Balkans is not a neighboring region of Europe but an integral part of it.
"Europe and the EU countries that are skeptical must understand that history's unchanging tendency is to bring Europe's political and cultural boundaries closer to its natural borders," Ruci noted.
"We should not have two security standards. On the contrary, the EU's security prospect must be the same as that of the world outside the EU," said Ruci.
According to the Speaker, security and defense policies in and for the region of southeast Europe are closely linked to the vision for Europe, the EU and the integration of the western Balkans.
Sixty-five representatives from Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Turkey are attending the annual meeting held in Tirana on Nov. 4-6.