EU must fight bias against Albania, says Croatia's prime minister


Albania faces bias and regional double standards in its bid to open accession negotiations for membership in the European Union, and Croatia will help to correct the matter, the country's prime minister, Zoran Milanovic, has said during an official visit to the Albanian capital.

Milanovic said Albania should have already been granted candidate status and been allowed to open negotiations for European Union membership.

Albania “faces certain obstacles … some which Albania needs to change, but also some that are not fair toward Albania," Milanovic said at a joint press conference with his Albanian counterpart, Edi Rama.
As a NATO member, Albania “does not deserve to be a subject to bias, but for the sake of truth, such a bias against you exists. This worries us, and we will try to eliminate it,” Milanovic said in an interview with an Albanian private television station. Croatia is the EU's newest member, and it joined NATO at the same time as Albania in 2008.

Albania's bid to gain the status of official candidate for membership in the European Union was delayed again in December, when EU member states also decided to open negotiations with Serbia, placing Belgrade two steps ahead of Tirana in the integration process.

“I disagree with the decision that was made for Albania, but it had to be taken unanimously, so one vote against or an abstention leads to collapse of the entire structure. My opinion is that Albania should have started negotiations in parallel with Serbia,” Milanovic said in an interview in Albania's Top Channel television station.

Albania had gained support of all relevant EU bodies to get candidate status in December, but the Netherlands, which had also delayed Serbia's bid in the past, said it would veto Tirana's progress at the EU because it wanted to see more results in the fight against corruption and crime. The Dutch were later joined by several others in their objection, including the governments in Berlin, London and Paris.

But Milanovic said in his interview that all the reasons why the EU should start negotiations with Albania are there, because Albania is already a NATO member state.

He also urged Albania to follow Croatia's example in an uncompromising fight against corruption./AT/.
EU must fight bias against Albania, says Croatia's prime minister EU must fight bias against Albania, says Croatia's prime minister Thursday, May 08, 2014 Rating: 5
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