This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al
By Plator Nesturi
The opening of negotiations remains the main topic of discussions these days. Mogherini herself visited Tirana to extend her congratulations by stressing that the European Commission kept its promise that it would issue a positive recommendation for the accession talks. Now it’s our turn to do our homework. But this time, we cannot pretend that we’re doing our homework, like we’ve done so far. The recent progress reports have constantly reiterated the fact that many of the tasks have just started to be carried out, while others had many shortcomings. The actions that the country will take will also have an impact on the decision that EU member countries will take in the next summit, which will discuss the EU enlargement process. PM Rama explained that this is the start of a new and greater commitment. We hope that this is how it will be. Preserving his composure about what is expected of the EU summit, Rama noted that there are no countries against Albania’s integration, but only a few individuals who do not want Albania to become part of the EU. Fortunately, neither Merkel, nor Macron is among these people. Nonetheless, the Prime Minister could not refrain from uttering a few negative comments about the opposition, while calling on the opposition not to collaborate with countries that work against Albania’s interests and countries that try to prevent its accession in the EU.
The head of the Democratic Party, who had travelled to Berlin, says that the opposition desires the country’s accession, despite the problems that should have been addressed by the government. He also said that he had travelled to Berlin to lobby in favor of the recommendation. Basha also said that in Germany there’s skepticism about problems concerning corruption, drugs and trafficking.
The fact that the opposition is demonstrating to be positive and not act as an obstacle is good news, despite internal political tensions concerning the integration of the country. Thus, Mogherini stressed this by thanking the opposition for its engagement. Nevertheless, tension will continue, despite the fact that in this case there were no ill-intentioned moves. The political situation in Albania seems to be heading toward aggravation. We have appeals for civil disobedience and accusations that power and institutions have been captured by Rama. Meanwhile, this situation may have an impact on the decision that member countries will take during the EU summit. In this case, we will suffer the consequences once again. Therefore, it’s not enough to ask solidarity from the opposition regarding the issue of integration. If serious efforts are made and a joint team is set up with the aim of working to achieve the same goal, then cooperation should be concrete.
Meanwhile, the government is the one with the biggest burden to finalize this process. The government should not only invite the opposition in this difficult journey, but all Albanian citizens along with the main players and those who directly benefit from this process. Given the fact that many of the government initiatives have been surrounded by skepticism, this time there’s no real enthusiasm about the recommendation for the opening of negotiations. The protest held in Kukes and the protest of many small businesses show that there’s a lot of discontent about the performance of the economy. This means that the government needs to be careful not only to win the sympathy of the European Commission, but it should also make sure it doesn’t lose public trust. So, it is clear that something is not right and that things should have been different, despite the rhetoric that we hear that the state is being strengthened, that there’s no state without taxes and that although we’re suffering from these austere measures, this is being done for our own good. We all want to have a state and order, we all want to be a developed country and feel like Europeans, but when we have nothing to put on the table for our children, then it’s time to reflect. Many things should change and the government must also apologize for the things it has done wrong. Reaching consensus with the citizens imposes a broader consensus, even with the opposition, in order to convince the European countries that it’s true that democracy here does have problems, but there’s will to overcome the obstacles.
So far, it’s clear that the situation is not very positive and the government should realize that this civic reaction in itself is something that helps democracy. This political tension is not good, because it doesn’t solve anything. What seems to be worrying is the fact that while the political class fights, here there’s no referee who will say what is right or wrong, because institutions are atrophied and they serve the interests of the ruling party. Further aggravation would only cause us to miss the next train to Brussels. Nobody wants a country which has no political stability.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy