Albanian Premier Sali Berisha talks in Bucharest of "historical moment". Tirana "has returned to the family of Euro-Atlantic countries". As the capital celebrates, the opposition organizes demonstrations against the government. On 4 April more than ten thousand participants were expected to attend the Socialist opposition demonstration.
Under the motto «Born yes, Berisha No» the current government is heavily attacked, especially after the disastrous explosion in an ammunition warehouse in mid-March. The Albanian media have publicized the Bucharest NATO summit and, similarly, they have not failed to denounce the illegal arms trafficking, the harsh working conditions and the corruption in which the country finds itself. The opposition also accuses the government of not being able to reach and maintain the standards necessary to integrate into the Atlantic Alliance.
The long road to Europe
After the long political isolation, both in the West and in the East, in the 1991 the country began a path of democratization towards European integration. From the 1995 Albania enters the European Parliament while, already in the 1994, had made a request for full participation in NATO. With his military commitment in Afghanistan and Iraq, where he sent 280 soldiers in total, Tirana underlined his desire for integration with the West. After the invitation to Bucharest, full participation in the Atlantic Alliance could only become a certainty. Unlike other European countries, the military coalition has not attracted any criticism. Consensus was widely expressed both by society and by all political parties.
The additional military tasks and expenses associated with this type of alliance have not been discussed openly. In all, 2010 million will be allocated to military investments by the 50. Albania has a relatively small defense system, only 2% of GDP, and the old army needs huge modernization to reach European standards. When this operation begins it will not fail to procure tension, also considering the poverty of the population.
Although the invitation to join NATO is a success in foreign policy for the Government of Tirana, the country's problems remain, caused above all by state structures weakened by corruption. To the question, what do you expect from participation in NATO, an Albanian student replies: «That politicians, once integrated with the West, are more responsible for their policy. This is the only possible way for a real development of Albania ».
Published in German on the networkand republished and translated into Italian for Cafebabel.com by Federica Campoli