„Albania belongs to Europe”
Lecture of the Albanian Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Edmond Haxhinasto
It has only been 13 years ago that the Balkans presented a security concern for the Europeans, said the Albanian foreign minister and vice premier. “Now we are talking about reforms, political instituions and measures for ecomoic promotion. This is a visible progress.“ In his view, especially Albania has undergone a substantial economic development which has hardly been hit by the global financial crisis. As an example, his country has an ecomoic growth of three percent, a growing export rate as well as a flat tax of 10 percent which has made it attractive for investors.
Albania has always belonged to Europe, stressed Haxhinasto. Thus, if EU accepts Albania as a member, it is not about an ‚enlargement’, but a ‚completion’ of the Union. In addition, his government has made substantial progress in the fight against corruption. According to current opinion polls, more than 90 percent of Albanians favour the admission to the EU. Since Albania has been isolated for a long time, the granted visa liberalisation and freedeom of movement is very important for the population.
The fact that the progress report of the European Comission dating back to October 12th, 2011, did not contain a concrete recommendation for Albania’s EU candidacy is based on political reasons. In view of the Albanian foreign minister, the opposition has not accepted its loss in the elections two years ago but has boycotted the parliament until recently. Since then, many political decisions have been blocked. However, the reforms which are neccessary for achieving EU’s candidacy status have to be pushed through by a joint effort of all political parties. „Therefore, we need a new political culture and a national action plan for a cooperation above party lines.“
Despite of the above mentioned problems, Hashinasto self-confidently recommended his country as an example for succesful democratization to the transforming states of Northern Africa and the Middle East. „We have suffered under a harsh dictatorship, have overcome ethnic conflicts and are now on the way to stabiilty. We could pass this experience over to other ountries.“