This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al
By Frrok Çupi
The EU can also be considered a marriage, but a marriage which never became a “political” one, although it started as such. People of the Mediterranean say that marriage is like “a castle where those who are inside of it want to come out, while those who are out, want to get in”.
Albania and other countries which are out, are trying to get in. They have even turned the marriage in the EU into a challenge of political existence. It’s been years that politicians use the EU integration process as the slogan of their efforts to win the elections.
Meanwhile, ancient European nations have started to leave.
What is Brexit?
It came like a sudden shock. On 23 June 2016, the British decided to leave the European Union, which they had been part of since 1973. In that referendum, 51.9% of British voters voted in favour of leaving the EU. What they hated the most was the EU’s bureaucracy and the endless laws and regulations. These were enough for the British to put an end to this relationship.
We now may have “Itexit”
After the last elections, Italy, which is one of the seven most powerful world economies, is ready to leave the EU. The European Commission started to feel terrified immediately after the victory of the populist euro-sceptic parties. Those politicians who are getting ready to form a new government, have accused the European commission of interfering in Italian politics in order not to allow the creation of a government voted by people. Members of the European Commission started to be alarmed when the winners of the elections announced their plan for “Public deficit, stability pact and emigration”.
Initially, the EU was hoping to come to an agreement with Matteo Salvini by engaging in talks with him. Salvini is a member of the European Parliament and leader of the Lega Nord, a partner in the new Italian government. But these talks failed. A government is being formed between Lega and the Cinque Stelle Movement with a program against the EU. The EU forgot that this time it was not negotiating with Matteo Renzi or Paolo Gentiloni; it was negotiating with Salvini and Di Maio. Once this government is formed, political experts predict a possible “Itexit”.
The recent warnings show the high level of panic that the European Commission finds itself in, realizing what may happen in the future once Italy leaves the union. Italy’s exit could prove to be more expensive that Brexit for the European Commission. Italy is a member of the euro zone and a funding EU member.
The real problem that the European Union is facing in this wave of anti-establishment sentiments, is not only confined within the UK or Italy. The problem relates to things like austerity measures and massive migration, which have caused member countries to be fed up. The forces that rose against the establishment turned into a political trend in Europe. If the EU does not react now, during this embryonic phase, all of this may turn into a real avalanche in the near future…
Could there be an “Alb-in”?
Albania’s entry in the EU is still a dream and it has been a dream from generations. Now, Albania’s integration in the European Union has become imperative for three reasons:
The first one to benefit from this are Eurocrats. They believe that by accepting countries such as Albania, which do not meet standards, then they comply with statistics regarding admissions. Not that they don’t know the destructive effect on the EU if countries with great problems involving economy, freedom, governance, democracy and crime become part of it, but they also know that several countries will leave during the 2019 elections. However, young politicians such as Macron, who have embarked on an adventure to preserve the EU, do not agree with a “destruction through new admissions”.
Local politicians stand to benefit from it. Albanian politicians, in government and opposition, see the “marriage” with the EU as something from which they can gain politically. If Albania launches its negotiations with the EU in June, then the government will not leave for another 20 years. But the opposition leader, in agreement with the government, use integration card to get rid of any opponents within the group. In both cases, being closer to the EU is a bad thing for the type of governance that we have.
The public believes that it stands to benefit from integration, but they have never wondered what obligations it may have toward the EU. They have not even wondered why the British, Italians, Poles, Lithuanians, Hungarians want to leave. Without asking this question, no good decisions can be ever made. However, Albanians think that the closer to the EU we are, the less Albanian leaders will be able to abuse, proving yet again that people are still dreaming.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy