Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama spoke to Euronews journalist Giorgia Orlandi after the State of Union Conference in Florence, Italy.
Asked over Albania’s bid in joining the EU and the seemingly approximate distance from the first Intergovernmental Conference, PM Rama was cautious recalling that a similar step was taken also a few years ago but without a substantial outcome, adding that if this happens again the country will continue to work on it.
“We don’t plan anything else than to continue working for it because for us Europe is not a political destination or objective. Europe is a religion and nobody can betray this religion in Albania because of the simple fact that Europe is a testament and is, at the same time, what we owe to our children and that’s why we will only work harder and harder and harder to make Albania a full functioning European State.”
Prime Minister Rama took a critical stance towards the EU, saying “Europe has not been good in keeping its own promises”, however, reiterated the Albanian people’s strong European orientation, particularly after the fall of the Communist regime.
“Albanians are never tired of fighting to be part of Europe”, said PM Rama.
With the EU membership process taking longer than expected, it seems that the Western Balkans have become a battleground for outside powers as well. What’s your take on that and where does Albania stand on all of this?
Despite the large-scale of constitutional changes and reforms aimed at tackling corruption and organized crime, the Albanian Prime Minister asserted that the country may not be “ready to be a member”, but on the other hand it is prepared to “enter the full track of negotiations”.
“There is a big difference between becoming members of the European Union and entering into the full track of negotiations because as we are today, we are not ready to be members, no doubt. But as we are today, we are more than ready to enter the full track of negotiations and it’s there where the contradicting point stands and where Europe is being short-sighted and somehow even hypocritical because Albania deserves to enter the full track of negotiations and full stop”, said PM Rama.