Rama to AP: The EU's decision to hold the summit in Tirana is a good omen for the future of the Balkans
One day before the EU-Western Balkans Summit, Prime Minister Edi Rama, in an interview for "Associated Press", considered the fact that European leaders are meeting in Tirana, for the first time in a country outside the bloc, to be important.
"The moment is fantastic. No one could have imagined it two years ago and now it is happening", said Rama.
According to Rama, the war in Ukraine gave the EU an incentive to bring the countries of the Western Balkans into the democratic community of Europe. "The common voice of the Western Balkans urged EU leaders more to lead countries on the path to membership, because they need the Western Balkans, as much as the Western Balkans need the EU," he said.
He added that "the bloc should especially work with Serbia, which has not joined the EU sanctions against Russia during the war".
The Prime Minister called tomorrow's meeting "the most important event in the history of international relations (of Albania)", noting that the former communist country was completely cut off from the world and from Europe until 1990".
"The summit will bring to the Western Balkans and to our country a lot of positive energy, a lot of hope, new paths that will be defined in the next steps. The decision of the EU to hold the summit outside its territory is a good omen for the future", said Rama.
With the exception of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia only in 2008, the countries of the Western Balkans were first identified as potential EU candidates in 2003.
The bloc agreed to start full membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia in July and has held such discussions with Serbia and Montenegro for several years.
The executive commission of the EU also recommended Bosnia as a candidate in October. The Government of Kosovo has said that it intends to apply for candidacy consideration this month.
Rama argued that relations between the countries of the Western Balkans, especially those that made up the former Yugoslavia, have never been better, although he admitted that Serbia's refusal to recognize Kosovo's independence "is still like the elephant in the room".