Candidate state says it hopes to join EU in 22nd century — Analysis

Albania’s PM, who warned Ukraine against EU membership ‘illusions,’ has mocked Brussels’ sluggishness in adding new members

Albania, which was granted EU-candidate status eight years ago, still maintains hopes that it could join the bloc sometime in the 22nd century, the Balkan country’s Prime Minister Edi Rama joked during an EU summit in Brussels.

“Of course, we’ll continue on our European path with hope that in the next century we’ll be members,”Rama spoke on Thursday.

After the EU/Western Balkans summit, held in Belgrade, the sarcastic comment was made. It did not bring any clear results for Albania or the other EU hopefuls.

Brussels was unable to lift the veto of Bulgaria on North Macedonia’s entry into negotiations.

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The bloc also stopped negotiations with Albania because the EU-membership applications of the neighboring countries were bundled together.

According to Rama, the problem wasn’t only about Bulgaria’s stance, but about the bloc’s overall unwillingness to add new members.

He said that he would make several statements to the European Council President during talks, but he did not specify how many. “Charles Michel said that we have three minutes each, and I said that 30 seconds would’ve been enough if you fulfilled your promises.”

“They don’t hear us as Europeans, but as guests in a divided house,”He was furious.

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It was “disturbing” that even such events as the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian offensive in Ukraine, which Rama believes could well escalate into a global conflict, weren’t enough to persuade the EU member-states to find common ground on expansion, the politician said.

The European Council also decided on Thursday to give Ukraine and Moldova EU-candidates status.

On the sidelines to the EU-Western Balkans summit in Brussels, the Albanian prime Minister warned Kiev about any such warnings “illusions”It is likely that the candidacy of this candidate will soon be accepted into membership.

“North Macedonia [has been a]If I don’t lose count, candidate for seventeen years. Albania, for eight. So, welcome to Ukraine,”Rama said.

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