Last month the Stabilisation and Association Council between Albania and the European Union held its seventh meeting. Stabilisation and Association Council welcomed the 100% alignment of Albania to Common Foreign and Security Policy declarations and Council decisions. Even Albania did not open any negotiation chapter it will be obvious that Chapter 31, for Albania will be technical and be of those that can be easily closed.
European Western Balkans spoke with Albanian Minister of European Integration Ms Klajda Gjosha, which at the beginning repeated Council’s welcome note that in the framework of challenges of chapter 31, Albania has continuously joined to declarations of EU and decisions of the Council in the field of foreign policy and security. “Albania will continue to follow this line in the future as well, thus reconfirming its strategic objective, full membership in EU” underline Gjosha.
For Albania, European Union remains the main goal. Ministry of European Integration coordinate domestic aspects future of the EU negotiation process and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be a key player of this mechanism at the inter-institutional level in terms of the identification of the needs of EU membership negotiations and will address the foreign policy-related aspects of this process. In case of Chapter 31 – Foreign, security and defence policy, relations with the EU will be boosted through direct consultations with the capitals of the countries that play a pivotal role in the European foreign policy decision-making process.
One crucial thigh differs Albania form other Western Balkans candidate courtiers – NATO membership.
For Gjosha Albania is the only NATO member in the West Balkans and also Albania have the responsibility to further widen the democracy and stability in the region, as well to closer cooperate with other countries. “As regards to the developments in the region, membership of Albania into NATO has not only increased the country’s prestige in the region but also the possibilities to contribute to its security and stability” Gjosha sad.
For her, being a member of NATO, Albania obviously has several advantages compared to countries in the region, and teases are the following:
- Access to NATO information which assist to a better and quicker orientation of Albania toward defining regional security policies and further;
- A more efficient cooperation in the fight against terrorism and Foreign Fighters;
- benefiting from courses, exercising programmes and modern military technology;
- Increases the possibilities of frequent contacts of high level with American counterpart;
- In this context, Albania was selected from the USA as the contact office as regards the fight against terrorism in Balkans.
Albania’s contribution in the area of presence in military and civilian terms, in both EU and NATO peace keeping missions, is really important for the EU partners. Within the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy, Albania participated in EU Mission “ALTHEA” in Bosnia and Herzegovina under German Command and also EU Mission in Chad.
Klajda Gjosha believes that as a NATO member state and a candidate country for membership in the European Union, Albania will face all challenges of security as well the multi dimensional threats in the Euro-Atlantic area, which are a concern for the international community.
However, deep crisis in Macedonia will continue to pose the most important test for all the countries of the region. Albanian NATO membership first time came to the fore several days ago with Edi Rama’s thoughts about Macedonian membership to the Alliance. What will be the answer of the European Union on this possible threat from Tirana it remains to speculate?
Author: N. T. Štiplija