IBNA Op-ED/The project for the integration of Albania in the EU is the greatest project for Albania, since the creation of the Albanian state. It’s a project which requires a great engagement, but above all, it requires vision. In Albania, the Albanian political class has an exemplary consensus, as opposed to many other EU countries on the issue of integration.
Tirana, March 4, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Niko Peleshi
Deputy prime minister of the Government of Albania
Albania doesn’t have a small or a big party which is against EU integration. The level of support in the Albanian society about this process is one of the highest in Europe. All governments that have existed so far have announced European integration as their vision.
Sources and political will
Albania doesn’t lack sources; Albania’s development potential has never lacked. It can be said that it’s richer than several other countries which have progressed more than us in their path of economic and social development.
There’s also a political will from the Albanian government and past governments.
But what Albania has been lacking during these years is orientation toward results and not toward the process. The truth is that many of us have perceived European integration as an endless process. We have often considered the objectives set by the European Commission and EU as home works and we have often called them this way even in the political terminology in Albania.
Since the start of its work, the Albanian government has made European integration not only a priority and vision, but the tasks emanating from this process as its homework in the aspect of a national development strategy.
This is why the National Plan for European Integration comes today as a guideline, as a basic document of all our policies and strategies for economic development, of national strategies and sector based strategies, which are being revised and which correspond to the same period, 2014-2020.
It’s an institutional duty for every policy and strategy for each sector to be in full harmony with this Plan, to be in full harmony with our main vision, which is EU integration.
These days we hold the second round of high level talks, where there will be the presentation of the “Roadmap” document to address the 5 priorities. This will be a key guideline in Albania’s path toward the launch of negotiations.
In March, the European Commission will present at the Ministry of European Integration the questionnaire, which is our best opportunity to announce all measures, engagements and our achievements during these months in office. Bearing in mind that we are in a very critical phase, both important and delicate for Albania, ahead of being granted the EU candidate status, the seriousness of the entire government cabinet in filling the questionnaire based on the deadlines set in the framework of the drafting of the national plan for European integration, becomes even more important.
Promotion is necessary
Of course, the work of the government, our seriousness, engagement, measures and achievements in this process are often not enough. We must promote our work and the achievements of the government during these months and in the months to come.
But, first of all we must correct ourselves. We must be serious and efficient in meeting objectives, because it’s possible to convince EU member countries for the results that have been achieved, but it’s impossible to convince European Union, member countries and respective parliament for what hasn’t been achieved.
We must consider the EU integration process not only as an obligation, but also as our vision of economic and social development of Albania. The new governing culture in Albania is rapidly being implemented in all ministries, in all government agencies and state institutions of the country. Thus the culture based on results and not based on an endless process must be the fourth guarantee of success, along with the vision, sources and the political will of the Albanian government.
The Albanian government cannot divide the Albanian political class, including the opposition from this process. This is not a process which ends within a governing term and perhaps even during two governing terms. This is not a process which serves to the electoral purposes of a political party or another. This is a process which benefits Albania. It’s an obligation toward generations, an assurance for the development and prosperity of Albania for tens of years to come. /ibna/