IBNA Analysis/Albanian PM Edi Rama analyzes the process of EU enlargement

IBNA Analysis/Albanian PM Edi Rama analyzes the process of EU enlargement

Tirana, April 20, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

The Albanian PM, Edi Rama analyzes the process of the integration of Albania and other countries of the Balkan peninsula in the European Union. He sees integration as the only instrument of the modernization of societies in the region.

Mr. Rama is critical toward the EU, which he sees as a hostage of electoral political tactics of its own member countries. He says that unfortunately, even in some influential countries, there’s a fear that there may be losses in votes and Euro skepticism grows if this great strategic project is discussed. He says that the answer to today’s problems in Europe “is more Europe and not less Europe”.

Mr. Rama warns that the failure to rapidly include Balkan in a process of integration, which is without any equivoque inspiring for the people of Balkan, not only weakens the perspective of peace in the Balkan, but also weakens Europe.

A unique instrument

Mr. Rama says that the process of integration is the only instrument for the modernization of societies that want to join the European family.

“In spite of the fog that has fallen upon the EU and the foggy reference points which have made many people in Europe lose the strategic direction of the project of United Europe, the process of integration is a unique and irreplaceable instrument for the modernization of societies which have joined the European family in the past 20 years and those societies which are still trying to join it, for political transformation, social and also a cultural transformation in the framework of a state that functions. It’s impossible to imagine another instrument which would replace the process of integration and it’s impossible to imagine what Albania would be today in case all of these years, it would not hold this instrument, which is an instrument that no other country, even less a non developed country, can invent for its own and which comes as a big favor of being a country of the European community and a country which is a part of the EU strategic project”.

The nightmare of barbarism that we thought belonged to the past

The head of the Albanian government says that today’s freedom throughout the world has been affected by the nightmare of barbarism which we thought belonged to the past. He says that in some countries, their perspective is hard to be predicted, while in the case of the countries that are in Europe, they will sooner or later become part of the EU.

“What’s the perspective of young men and women in the countries which today have been engulfed by the nightmare of Islamic radicalism, by the nightmare of barbarism which we thought belonged to the past? It’s very difficult to imagine this perspective without them, while it’s too easy to imagine a perspective the young men and women in Albania, in Kosovo or wherever they are, as part of a European society and of a country which sooner or later will be part of the EU”.

Biggest opponents of Europe are within Europe

Mr. Rama says that today’s context of Albania and the Balkan is a positive context like never before, because of the peace which has finally been achieved, after hundreds of years of wars and conflicts in the Balkan, but it’s also in conflict with today’s context in the EU, which cannot be considered as the most favorable one. According to Rama, it’s the most unfavorable one in the past 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“Because today, the biggest opponents of Europe are within Europe and not only within Europe, but they try to strengthen their opposing presence against the biggest project of the European Union, nourishing fear and not hope and by opposing the very essence of the EU project, which is a project founded on hope and peace and cohabitation in peace of all countries in a single family”.

The Albanian PM says that daily politics have constantly weakened the European Union. “It has constantly weakened it, taking advantage of what in my point of view are not weaknesses of the big project of the EU’s founding fathers, but weaknesses that emanate from the failure to fulfill the project. And for this reason, criticism against today’s European Union, when it comes to persuaded Europeans, comes in the form of: for today’s problems in Europe there must be more Europe and not less Europe”.

What must be the EU’s answer?

For the Albanian PM, “the answer towards today’s problems in Europe cannot consist on making steps backward, on leaving the joint family, on closing borders and introducing the old borders of perceiving society based on the concept of nation, on the past, which is in fact a call to move out of history”.

“To think and claim today that EU is the problem and the dissolution of the EU and making steps backwards is the solution of the problem of unemployment, poverty, of the great problems of emigration, globalization and so on, means calling for a departure from history and head toward an unknown direction, where consequences can be catastrophic”.

Mr. Rama notes that “unfortunately this is the result of a gaining approach from daily politics and that this is a big problem which prevents the creation of a strategic policy of the European Union”.

Europe needs Balkan

PM Rama says that for Europe, Balkan is as important as Europe is for the countries of this region.

“If 10 or 15 years ago this could not be said, today this is well clear. Europe needs Balkan today the same way Balkan needs Europe”.

Mr. Rama warns that the failure to rapidly include Balkan in a process of integration, which is without any equivoque inspiring for the people of Balkan, not only weakens the perspective of peace in the Balkan, but also weakens Europe.

“It weakens Europe because Europe is no longer safe by closing its doors to the Balkan. If today we talk about problems of terrorism, we talk about problems with emigration, problems of insecurities in general, a Europe which isolates itself from the Balkan is not less threatened by these problems, but more threatened. In the meantime, the enlargement of the map and the intensive involvement of the Balkan as part of the European project makes Europe stronger and safe in all aspects”.

At this point, Rama appeals that “a current turbulent Balkan, bearing in mind the ethnic and religious configuration of our region, would be a problem with serious consequences for Europe”.

“Balkan can only become turbulent as a result of the loss of hope on the European perspective, while it can only be consolidated and become more European thanks to the clarity of this perspective”.

What we ask from Europe

The head of the Albanian government says that Europe must not forget that the countries of the region, although they’re not part of the EU, are and must be seen as an integral part of Europe.

“What we ask and what Europe today is not yet ready to answer like it should, at the benefit of the joint interest of the Balkan and Europe, is for Europe not to forget at any moment that although we’re not EU members, we’re European. Although we’re not part of the EU, we’re part of Europe. And we’re part of Europe which must be seen as an integral part, by first of all delivering important projects of regional cooperation, which will strengthen peace in the Balkan and give Balkan people a clear view that although the process of accession will last, we will be part of joint projects. And if we talk about infrastructure, there’s no chance for the Balkan to be integrated with Europe in the infrastructural point of view, if Europe doesn’t back the projects of regional infrastructure. There’s no chance that Croatians, Montenegrins and Albanians can afford the construction of the Blue Corridor, which would make Mediterranean tourism complete, including the entire Balkan region. Here, it’s Europe that must offer its support and view this support as benefiting for its own strategic interest. It must act the same way for all other regional projects”. /ibna/