Albania's DREAM to be part of the European Union risks seriously compromising itself.
This is the bitter assessment of Miroslav Lajcak, EU special envoy for the Western Balkan region. Lajcak sought to broker an agreement between Sali Berisha, the Albanian prime minister, and Edi Rama, the opposition leader. He declares that, if the two do not reach an agreement before the local elections, in early May, they will share responsibility for the disorder created "no matter what they declare".
It is from the political elections of June 2009, when Edi Rama accused Berisha of electoral fraud, which in Albania lacks a normal political life. The opposition boycotted parliamentary sessions and hunger strikers camped outside Berisha's headquarters. All this was deemed unseemly for a country that had recently joined NATO and had applied for EU membership, which is why outside observers put pressure on both sides of politics. Now they have taken an extra step: Jim Steinberg, the US deputy secretary of state, visited Tirana on 25 last February. Despite this, as the tone of Lajcak suggests, the friendly countries of Albania are losing patience.
The latest turmoil was sighted in January, when Dritan Prifti, a former minister of the economy, handed over to a Albanian broadcaster a video that seemed to show Ilir Meta, the Albanian deputy prime minister, discussing a large-scale corruption affair. Meta denounced the video as a fake, but it has nevertheless resigned. A few days later, an opposition demonstration turned into a tragedy. Observers say a hard core of protesters was looking for trouble. But no one expected that the Republican Guard from the prime minister's office would open fire, killing four protesters. Berisha promptly accused Rama of attempting a coup, using guns disguised as umbrellas. When the prosecutor charged some members of the Republican Guard, Berisha tried to obstruct their arrest. He called the attorney general a "whore from the boulevard", part of the conspiracy concocted by the opposition.
Genc Pollo, Berisha's government minister, said the demonstration was "a well-organized assault intent at the government building, where the prime minister and others were." Nonsense, - Rama mocks, - they have thrown the elections to rob the country and now they are willing to kill in order to continue to rob the country.
Berisha believes he has the support of the Americans. This has its firmness in not giving in to an agreement with Rama. Yet Lajcak declares that the two must agree on how to avoid the problems that led to accusations of electoral fraud before the local elections in May. the EU will be definitively shelved.
The situation is improving slightly in Kosovo. Flawed elections were held in December, but protests and lengthy negotiations led to the formation of the new government only 22 last February. The prime minister is Hashim Thaçi, accused by a recent report by the European Council of having been the head of a mafia group responsible for the macabre trade in human organs of Serbian prisoners, at the end of the 90 years. Behgjet Pacolli, a controversial and influential personality with close ties to Russia, Serbia's main supporter, was elected president, but the opposition disputed the choice. None of this will even help Kosovo to the EU.
You can read this article in English on The Economist online versionThe article was translated by Era Meto
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