This week on Talking Europe we take a look at some of the other countries, aside from Ukraine, that are knocking on the EU’s door to join the bloc. EU leaders held a summit on Thursday with the Western Balkan states to discuss their accession process. For Albania, that started back in 2008 and still hasn’t advanced to the negotiations stage. Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama spoke to FRANCE 24’s Luke Brown on the sidelines of the EU-Western Balkans leaders’ meeting in Brussels.
Rama has become increasingly frustrated by the lack of progress on his country’s EU membership bid: first threatening to not come to the meeting then announcing afterwards that the process was being “kidnapped” by the Bulgarian veto over his country’s and North Macedonia’s accession process.
Albania has held EU candidate status since 2014. The prime minister said that “it is not that Albania has made slow progress towards the EU but that the EU has slowed down a lot towards the future of itself”; however he says he is no longer “frustrated” but rather saddened by the EU’s failure to “fulfil the promise given to Albania and North Macedonia”.
Rama went on to describe EU candidate status as “a kind of anti-depressant pill” to boost the morale of countries, but stated that he felt it only “fair to recognise the Ukrainians as a nation that is doing a lot for us” as they prevent the “advancement of the most scary counter-reform in the world that Putin wants to put in place”.
Produced by Isabelle Romero, Georgina Robertson, Perrine Desplats and Sophie Samaille