Albania’s president Bamir Topi has been in office since July. With a strong say in foreign policy, he is keen to join NATO and the European Union. Next Tuesday the EU will issue a progress report on Albania’s efforts to join the bloc. In the past it has been told to do better in the fight against organised crime and corruption. Then there is the question of Kosovo. EuroNews spoke to the president.
EuroNews: What do you think about the possible unilateral declaration of independence by the Kosovars. Do you think it would be responsible to do that?
Bamir Topi: If no other solution is found, meaning there is no common solution approved by all international bodies involved, then the last resort will be unilateral recognition, which will be beneficial to the stability of the Balkans. Albania will not be the first country to recognise Kosovo’s possible unilateral declaration of independence, because our position, our policy, is in compliance with that of the international community.
EuroNews: But as you know, not all the member states of the European union are in favour of a unilateral declaration of independence.
Bamir Topi: I believe that up until now – and I believe it will be the case in the future – Albania has played its moderating role, which has been a stabilising role as well, which will also help its foreign affairs policies. Albania believes, and Albanian institutions also believe, that if after the 100-day long period there is no solution, then we will be in favour of the implementation of the Ahtissari plan.
EuroNews: You are afraid of instability in the region. Do you think that joining NATO will give Albania further stability?
Bamir Topi: First of all I think the stability of the region depends very much on the good relations that have been built up among the neighbouring countries in the Balkans. Secondly, Albania has done everything in favour of this and the solution of Kosovo will contribute a great deal to long-term stability. I do not believe that there will be insecurity in the Balkans. The integration of the three Adriatic member countries Albania, Croatia and Macedonia into NATO will contribute a great deal to long-term stability in the region.
EuroNews: Is Kosovo an obstacle to Serbia and Albania joining the European Union?
Bamir Topi: I believe the solution of the Kosovo issue will psychologically release Serbia and will move it towards Euro-Atlantic integration. This has been pointed out by many analysts who say that after a solution is found for Kosovo, Serbia will be oriented more clearly towards its integration into Europe.
EuroNews: Yes, but don’t you think that the two Albanian entities one day could get closer?
Bamir Topi: I think such an idea would not come up. I believe the future of our countries, as I’ve already mentioned – Kosovo, Albania and Serbia and any other country in the Balkans – will be in the European Union in the future. Our future is projected towards that. We cannot know which country – Albania or Kosovo – will go into the bloc first, but Albanian foreign policy is fully oriented towards fulfilling these objectives.