The general secretary of Albania’s ruling Socialist Party, Taulant Balla said that any unification with Kosovo will only come when these two countries begin the path to EU membership.
Balla’s comment for Euronews Albania came as a response to Kosovo’s elections winner, Albin Kurti who told the TV that if a referendum were held on the unification of Albania and Kosovo, he would vote in favor.
Former Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko, however, was unequivocal.
“Such stories need to end,” he told Euronews Albania in an interview on Friday.
His message to Kurti was to look after his immediate priorities rather than igniting talking points that could be problematic.
“These discussions would create problems with international acts that ensure Kosovo’s stability, I am referring to acts that guarantee the presence of NATO in Kosovo and the Ahtisaari Package. Meanwhile, even more importantly, a prime minister cannot insinuate for a different status, because Kosovo is still in the process of being recognised by other states,” Majko said.
Albania is currently waiting to start membership talks with EU, while Kosovo remains the only country in the Western Balkans with restrictions of movement in the EU.
The Albanian minister of state for relations with parliament, Elisa Spiropali, said this is an issue that requires an inclusive dialogue and cooperation.
“Albania and Kosovo must be brought closer at all levels and must cooperate as two countries that share one common goal,” said Spiropali.
Albania and Kosovo held six government joint meetings and signed dozens of cooperation agreements.
Genc Pollo, a former deputy prime minister coming from the opposition Democratic Party, said he mostly received the referendum declaration as “hypothetical”, as currently, neither country has plans to hold such a vote.
“Kurti said that ‘in case’ a referendum would be held — he did not say that he will hold a referendum — he would vote in favor and any Albanian could have very well said this. What I do know is that Albin Kurti has his main attention focused on internal issues of reforms and necessary measures. We wish him all the best in his endeavors,” Pollo concluded.
Kosovo, which declared independence on February 17, 2008, after an armed conflict with Serbia, has its constitution prohibited from joining another country.
Serbia, on the other hand, does not recognize Kosovo’s independence and has it sanctioned in its constitution as a territorial part of itself.