Is the EU fatigued from enlargement and is the Muslim majority a problem? Merkel responds

Is the EU fatigued from enlargement and is the Muslim majority a problem? Merkel responds

Tirana, 8 July 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

Two are the dilemmas that analysts launch in the media market every once in a while: Is the European Union fatigued by the process of enlargement and is the fact that some countries have a Muslim majority pose a problem?

These were two arguments that German chancellor Angela Merkel talked about today in Tirana during an official visit that lasted five hours, where she met with PM Edi Rama and president Bujar Nishani.

In the meeting with journalists, Mrs. Merkel first stopped on what is called an EU fatigue from enlargement.

Some believe that the EU doesn’t have the means or the will to be enlarged and what’s more, the crisis in some of the member countries has diverted attention from the candidate countries.

Mr. Merkel insists that the EU is not fatigued from the process of enlargement and assures that it’s in the best interest of the EU to approach the new countries. She denied that there’s a tendency by Europe to slow down the integrating process of aspiring countries.

“At the present while we’re discussing about the process of integration, I hear that the EU is trying to slow down the accession process. This has to do with the credibility of countries and delivering several criteria. The EU doesn’t create an artificial slowdown”, Mrs. Merkel said.

The chancellor also stopped on the process of Albania’s integration, which is an EU candidate country. She didn’t provide any dates as to when the negotiations can be opened, as, like she said, there’s still a lot to do, especially in terms of the reform in the justice system.

“Albania has made a lot of progress, but not all the conditions for the opening of accession talks have been met. We want Albania in the EU. We’re determining the deadlines. What speeds us up is the delivery of standards. A plan of measures and actions must be put in place, because here we have to do with priorities that are defined by the European Commission. Allow me to mention the priorities of the reform in the justice system. They have become priorities, but there’s still a lot to do”, Merkel said.

Some think that the fact that some countries of the region have a Muslim majority, such as Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and with FYROM with around 40% of its population Albanian Muslims, makes the EU hesitate in accepting them. There are analysts which also refer to the fact that since its creation, the European Union sanctions through a preamble that it’s a Christian union.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, assures that Muslim domination is not at all an obstacle for integration. She illustrated this with the fact that there are also lots of Muslims in Germany.

“Lots of Muslims live in Albania and in Germany too there are a lot of Muslims. Therefore, I believe that the perception according to which the EU doesn’t want to include Muslim nations in it, is completely wrong. We’re strongly engaged for the integration of different emigrants. There must be no public concern whatsoever on this matter”.

“I know that many countries are expecting this process to move forward, but we cannot slow it down in an artificial way. We want the accession of Western Balkan countries”, said Chancellor Angela Merkel. /ibna/