Albania is a formal membership candidate for the EU, but the process has been slowed by the crumbling bloc and member states who do not want to allow new countries into the 28 member union.
Now Prime Minister Edi Rama, a self-avowed friend of Tony Blair, has claimed the Balkans could “go crazy” if their role in Europe is not appreciated.
He warned the bloc rolling back its membership offer could wreak havoc on the continent, saying “the alternative would be a nightmare for the people and countries of Europe.
He warned the bloc rolling back its membership offer could wreak havoc on the continent
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Mr Rama said: “There is a lack of understanding, or a lack of vision in not realising that this region needs Europe, but Europe needs this region too, for a secure and safe Europe,”
“How can the union be secure and safe if the Balkans will go crazy?
“How can the European Union allow at its own heart a grey zone where other actors can have a larger influence than the EU itself?
“This is nonsense in terms of security, in terms of safety.”
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It comes as the county considers creating a union with Kosovo
It comes as the county considers creating a union with Kosovo, which has a majority Albanian ethnic population, despite it being explicitly disallowed by the Kosovan constitution.
Speaking to Politico, the Albanian leader claimed the move could be a “possible alternative” to EU membership.
Mr Rama added: “The only way to keep the Balkans in this peaceful and cooperative mode is to keep the path to the EU open, to keep the perspective clear, to keep emotions about the EU positive.
Opposition from member states has slowed Albania's EU hopes
Albania is a formal membership candidate for the EU
“No one would like to turn in on themselves and look for smaller unions, everyone would like to unite in the big union.
“But if there’s no hope, no perspective, no space, then, of course, little unions may happen.”
It comes after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned over instability in the Western Balkans.
Mr Juncker said to the US Vice President Mike Pence last month: “If we leave them alone – Bosnia-Herzegovina, Republika Srpska, Macedonia, Albania, all those countries — we will have war again.”