Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati informed on Tuesday (April 26th) a small group of Brussels journalists about his country’s ambitions towards the EU, following the Commission’s proposal to start membership talks with Tirana and following Prime Minister Edi Rama’s visit to Berlin last Wednesday. The European Commission proposed on April 17 to open membership negotiations with Albania and Macedonia, in line with its new focus on Western Balkans integration.
The renewed interest in the region, which has made progress over the last year in resolving disagreements with its neighbors and undertaking a reform agenda, matched concerns about the growing interest of non-EU countries to gained a foothold there, in particular Russia and China. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron told the European Parliament that he did not want further EU enlargement before the bloc would make the reforms, allowing it to function more successfully. In Berlin, Rama warned that Russia also aimed to radicalize the Muslims of Albania and urged the EU not to “leave room for filling in from other countries”.