Rama: External Forces Court the Western Balkans, But There Will Be No Renunciation of EU Membership

It is frustrating to wait, but Western Balkan leaders need to reject proposals from foreign powers and maintain faith in EU membership, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama appealed in an interview with the Financial Times

“Others can bring money, investment, maybe even caviar, but they will not be able to bring what you need to build a functioning free country,” said Prime Minister Rama.

The Financial Times cites Russia, China, and Turkey as suitors of the Western Balkans, but Edi Rama says Albania will never give up on Europe and the EU, whatever the shape of the EU in the future.

The Albanian prime minister adds that he is concerned about the growing nationalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also that nationalism in the EU is now a bigger obstacle to the ambitions of the countries in the region to join the Union.

Two decades ago, when Albania began the EU accession process, it was crucial to move away from Balkan nationalism, but Rama says today what prevents the region from joining the EU is the impact of EU nationalism on the political life of important EU countries.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Rama said that Albanians have their disappointments with Brussels, but this does not change the conviction for EU membership.

“We have consumed all the love stories and marriages before,” Rama said, alluding to the period of Albania’s close relations with Russia under Enver Hoxha, as well as its ties to China during the communist period.

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