In this IBNA Analysis, President of Albania, Bujar Nishani talks about the latest developments in the European Union. The head of the state insists that the country’s process of European integration must continue, in spite of the recent European developments. He says that EU accession continues to be massively supported by the citizens and Albanian political forces. Meanwhile, he says that this process implies standards, development and wellbeing for Albanians
Tirana, 1 July 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Edison Kurani
Great Britain’s exit from the European Union has increased the number of Euro skeptics. This is also happening in Albania. Many people believe that when Albania is ready to become an EU member country, the union would have been dissolved.
President of Albania, Bujar Nishani strongly believes that the process of the integration of the country in the EU must continue. He says that both sides must do this:
“The European Union, its institutions and the member countries must not neglect the integration of Western Balkan countries in the Union. The investment made for peace, reconciliation, stability and development of this region must be taken forward”, Mr. Nishani says.
As far as Albanians are concerned, he says that this process implies not only the accession in the EU, but above all standards, development and wellbeing.
“The Union is going through an extraordinary challenge following BREXIT and Albania’s effort to become a member of the Union seems strange for the ears not only of euro skeptics, but also many supporters of the EU who are not clear about the future of the European Union. But the process of integration in the European Union means: standards, development and wellbeing. Therefore, it remains not only a dream, but the biggest strategic objective of the country and the only alternative for its development”.
The president recalls the fact that by becoming part of the largest military and political alliance of the globe, NATO, in 2009, Albania and Albanians fulfilled a part of their dream. “Meanwhile now, they are completely oriented toward the European Union, a process which is both difficult and full of hopes for the future of Albania’s future of European values”.
Here, Mr. Nishani stresses the fact that “the process of European integration in Albania has the support of 90% of the population and of all serious political forces in the country.
BREXIT and the EU
The British expressed their will and although by a narrow margin, they voted in favor of exiting the European Union. This was a sovereign decision which was painfully respected by many European and world leaders.
It was a “NO” against the EU and a message which is carefully being read by all of its member countries, but also by candidate and aspiring countries.
The question of the day is: What will happen with the European Union and as a result, with the biggest European project after Second World War?
Mr. Nishani expresses his position: “Since the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003, it was clearly said and repeated that the European Union will never be complete without Western Balkan countries. But what will happen without the presence of Great Britain in the European Union?
Will it be complete without the country of Magna Carta and the industrial revolution, the country which is the fifth biggest economy in the world and one of the four super powers coming out of the Second World War and one of the five permanent members of the Security Council? This remains to be seen in the days, weeks and months to come. Therefore, I would not like to analyze the British vite, but I think that it has been significantly influenced by the recent financial crisis that struck the Union and several other member countries”.
Here, Mr. Nishani also identifies other factors: “An impact has been given by the terrorist attacks which have often struck Britain and other Union members, but also the significant growth of the terrorist and extremist activity within the countries of the European Union. The decision has also been influenced by the unprecedented waves of refugees and emigrants from the countries in conflict”.
For Mr. Nishani, all of these have caused a situation of insecurity, confusion in the relations between the leader and the citizen and they have created a favorable environment for populist and anarchist policies.
BREXIT and the region
Southeast Europe and countries of Western Balkans have also been affected by these crises and challenges and it is fair to say that the citizens of candidate member countries and potential candidate members of the European Union are asking what will happen with the process of European expansion after BREXIT?
Mr. Nishani says: “Of course, things are not like they were before, but it is very important that the European Union, its institutions and member countries not to neglect the process of integration of Western Balkans in the Union. The investment made for peace, reconciliation, stability and development of the region must be preserved and advanced”.
The president says that “in spite of the progress that has been made, the stability in the region is still vulnerable as the demons of the past are still in the Balkans”.
Meanwhile, he advises that “the reforms undertaken by the countries of the region must not be discouraged, but to be further encouraged by the EU, as the European project alone has demonstrated that it truly sets them in motion”.
A new “continent” after BREXIT?
It is clear that in the last decade, the world has significantly and rapidly changed. It has become multi-polar, economically at least, by introducing new economic relations and balances.
This situation has also affected the European continent.
After BREXIT, Europe is expected to change even more, because in these new circumstances, it must continue to compete with economic growing powers such as China, India, Brazil and other countries, to generate economic growth and sustainable development for the EU citizens.
Mr. Nishani comments these facts: “We are right to say that today, a new continent is emerging. Amid the dilemma of preserving the unity of the European Union and addressing joint challenges, restructuring or crucial changes of the Union, European spaces are becoming more and more flexible toward non European capital. But at the same time, they are becoming more vulnerable toward the future security challenges of this space. It seems that economic ties between Europe and Asia are becoming stronger. China, as the second biggest economic power in the world, has launched a major economic project called ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’, in order to link it with Europe through Central Asia and Russia, including a number of Eastern European countries, some of them EU member countries. Thus, the continent is changing. It is important that these changes do not threaten the European space and the continent’s western values, where Albania and other countries of Western Balkans are actively involved”, the Albanian president concludes. /balkaneu.com/