French, German elections to revive EU expansion: PM Rama to Reuters
France’s presidential vote and Germany’s coming election will breathe new life into the project of European Union enlargement, Albania’s prime minister said on Tuesday, predicting the bloc would start accession talks with Tirana by the end of 2017.
Speaking ahead of a June 25 parliamentary election, Edi Rama told Reuters that Albania had a “good chance” of securing the start of coveted membership negotiations within months thanks to a drive to reform the country’s corrupt court system and root out crooked judges. Such talks can last years.
He dismissed speculation that an EU push to create a common market in the Balkans – with a framework deal potentially on the table of a summit in Trieste next month – could emerge as an alternative to membership of the bloc, something he said the six Balkan countries involved would “never swallow”.
While acknowledging troubles facing the EU and their impact on its appetite for enlargement, Rama said he was optimistic the mood would improve after the election of pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron as French president in May and September polls in Germany widely expected to return Angela Merkel as chancellor.
“I’m very confident after the French and German elections the German-French axis will be strengthened,” Rama said, speaking in English. “I’m sure the project will be back in full force because there is no alternative.”
The push for a common market comprising Albania and ex-Yugoslav Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo has gained new traction as the EU tries to re-engage with the region after a spate of political and diplomatic crises and amid concern over the influence of Russia.
Slovenia and Croatia, both former Yugoslav republics, joined the EU in 2004 and 2013 respectively.
The bloc is pushing for agreement on the outline of a common market on July 12 in Italy’s Trieste. It will be the fourth such summit after Berlin in 2014, Vienna in 2015 and Paris in 2016.
*Material i përgatitur nga portali SCAN. Ripublikimi mund të bëhet vetëm kundrejt citimit të autorësisë dhe burimit origjinal.