Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama urged the start of talks on Albania's accession to the European Union - as part of the EU's Western Balkans enlargement program - to strengthen European security and stability.
Edi Rama said it would be 'crazy' that the European Union does not embrace a central region for migratory routes and is considered of particular importance also by Russia. The Prime Minister is convinced that Tirana has strongly faced the problems of drug trafficking and judicial corruption, making it a serious candidate to meet the demands of Brussels for the Western Balkan states concerning a membership already in the 2025:
"We would find it very strange that Albania does not start negotiations immediately, after having done exactly what it was asked to do. Now what we want is simply being rewarded for everything we've done. - said Rama in an interview, stressing that Serbia and Montenegro have already started talks for membership.
The Albanian premier during a visit to Brussels at this week's EU summit spoke to the Financial Times.
Video: EU-Albania joint conference, speech by Edi Rama
Edi Rama: It is absurd to think that the Western Balkans can be left aside, let alone outside Europe. Brussels must pay attention to Russia's influence in the region "Albania: committed to reform" Conference, 20 March 2018 (19 minutes) https://www.albanianews.it/notizie/europe/edi-rama-ue-20-03- 2018
Posted by ALBANIA NEWS on Friday, March 23, 2018
His statements reflect the Albanian frustration because in Tirana it has not yet been allowed to start talks despite the progress made in political and economic reforms.
With his statements, Rama wanted to urge the European Commission to open accession talks so that EU leaders will approve the Albanian candidacy at the June summit.
He also stressed the importance of Albania and neighboring countries in curbing migrant flows to EU countries, adding that Russia's interest and influence in the Western Balkans - although sometimes exaggerated - are real:
"In Moscow they never stopped seeing the geopolitical importance of the region, which is not understood by many in the EU, with the exception of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is absurd to think that the Western Balkans can be left aside, let alone whether to do this is Europe. "
Albania is anxious to take advantage of the signs of new momentum in the EU enlargement plan, after the commission last month published a strategy for the enlargement of the Western Balkans. The document states that Albania and the five states of the former Yugoslavia will join the EU by the 2025, provided they resolve their internal problems such as the fight against corruption and organized crime.
Regarding this, Rama said that his country has made incredible progress in eliminating cannabis crops and reducing the murder rate.
Furthermore, he acknowledged that the fight against corruption is a 'continuous struggle', but from which the first results are coming: 17 judges and prosecutors, in fact, have resigned rather than be subjected to the lens of the reform of the judicial system (see also: The reform of the judicial system in Albania reaps the first 'victim' )
Another step towards the EU, according to the Premier, will be the agreement with Greece to resolve disputes over territorial waters, for which the week also came go-ahead by the President of the Republic Ilir Meta