Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has urged the European Union to approve the start of EU accession talks with his country, claiming that his government has done all the necessary work to deserve it.
In an interview with Euronews on Monday, Rama reiterated his long-held view that “inner dynamics in the European Council” and “Europe’s unkept promises” are to blame for Albania’s lack of advance in the EU path.
“We had to take this step (the start of talks) a few years ago, again and again. It didn’t happen because of inner dynamics in the European Council,” he said.
Asked on EU-oriented reforms implemented in his two terms as prime minister, including the fight against corruption and rule of law, Rama pointed out that Albania is not asking to be admitted into the EU but just to start the long process of talks and reforms.
“It’s a big difference between becoming a member of European Union and entering the full track of negotiations. As we are today, we are not ready to become members, but we are ready to enter the full track of negotiations” Rama said.
“Europe is being shortsighted and somehow hypocritical, because Albania deserves entering the full track of negotiations,” the Albanian Prime Minister slammed the European Union.
Rama stressed that Europe is a religion that Albanians cannot betray, and about which they are fanatical.
“We plan to continue working, because for us Europe is not a political destination, Europe is a religion. Nobody can betray this religion in Albania, because of the simple fact [that] Europe is [a] testament and what we owe to our children,” he said, adding that “Albanians are very fanatic[al] about the West and European Union.”
Speaking of the influence of countries outside the EU in the Western Balkans, by which Russia and China are usually understood, Rama said the risk of influence is there, but Albania has less to deal with the issue compared to other countries.
“By not being fully integrated in European Union, Western Balkans remains a grey zone that offers attractions and chances to third actors that don’t have the same benign approach, attitude, values and principles that European Union offers. Albanians are very fanatic about the West and European Union, while the other countries more or less have much more to deal with these influences,” he said.