Mogherini: Albania “Ready To Run, Hopefully, Inshallah!”

After the meeting of EU–Albania Stabilisation and Association Council, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini held a press conference, in which she touched upon the perennial subject of the opening of the EU accession negotiations, as well as the current political situation in the country.

Referring to the recent report of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), the involvement of the government in drug trafficking as evidenced by the investigation of the Prosecution of Catania, and refusal of Parliament to lift former Minister of Interior Saimir Tahiri’s immunity, journalist Erisa Zyka asked whether Mogherini considered this the “political will” to deal appropriately with drug trafficking and criminal organizations.

Mogherini responded:

Drug cultivation and trafficking has to be tackled seriously with all the determination needed, with all the political support for that to happen seriously, and with the juridical authorities and the law enforcement agencies making their work. […]

As we are very much aware of, the law enforcement agencies in Albania are cooperating with law enforcement agencies in member states, particularly with the Guardia di Finanza in Italy, and to my knowledge also cooperation with the Italian judiciary is ongoing. […]

Drug trafficking and cultivation is a key priority for the European Union, a priority that is shared with the Albanian authorities, and this is one of the key elements also for the way ahead. What I can say is that I see the determination, I see […] steps forward, and political will. Obviously we need to see clear results coming out.

I say this not because this is a “condition” of the European Union, this is a condition of the Albanian people.

Furthermore, Mogherini stressed that there are only two countries currently negotiating with the EU, Montenegro and Serbia, whereas the other Western Balkans countries are “ready to run, hopefully, inshallah!”

Whether a concrete date will be set depends on the European Commission’s progress report to be presented in April 2018, and the evaluation of it by the European Parliament and the European Council.