From: Alice Taylor
Albanian PM Casts Doubt on EU Promises Ahead of Western Balkans Summit

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has said he expects very little from the EU-Western Balkan Summit taking place in Slovenia this week (6 and 7 October).

Giving comment to Spanish daily El Pais, Rama said that the EU has many internal problems which result in a lack of enlargement progress for Albania and other hopefuls.

“We have learned the hard way not to expect anything because we’ve seen that Europe is not in a very good moment with many internal problems, and enlargement is not expected with any enthusiasm,” he said.

He also called into question the comments of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who visited Tirana last week. “The Commission is one thing, the Council is another. Nice words are one thing, facts are another.”

Meanwhile, at the summit on Wednesday, EU Commissioner for enlargement Oliver Varhelyi reiterated his position that the EU must keep its promises to the countries of the Western Balkans and make the prospect of enlargement tangible.

“Our leaders will not only confirm, but also make it very clear, that we are committed to the full integration and membership of the Western Balkans within the European Union. Therefore, we will have to take our responsibilities, and the right decisions, that lead in this direction, “said Varhelyi.

He then said that both visa liberalisation for Kosovo and the first Intergovernmental Conference with Albania and North Macedonia will be on the table.

“So we need to hold the First Intergovernmental Conference with Northern Macedonia and Albania, open chapters with Serbia, speed up the process of declaring Bosnia and Herzegovina a candidate country, and approve visa liberalization for Kosovo,” he said.