Bushati: EU needs to export more stability to deter instability coming from the Western Balkans

Ditmir Bushati; Photo: European Union

ata_maliTIRANA – Albanian Foreign Affairs Minister Ditmi Bushati in an interview with “Koha Ditore” declared that year 2017 does not seem that positive for the Balkans, which is losing its cool and risking a downward spiral, ATA reports.

According to him, the prolonged crisis in Macedonia is the result of failure to implement the rules of democracy as well as to poor functioning of institutions, whereas the crisis in Montenegro comes as a result of a collision between the Euro-Atlantic vision and the forces attempting to put the country under the influence of actors that see NATO as a threat.

The situation in Bosnia, according to minister, is much more tricky as a consequence of the Dayton Agreement which saved Bosnia from further bloodshed, but is not currently seen as the platform for state-building and its European journey. In Serbia, youth is standing up to the all powerful domination of PM, currently President- elect, Vučić. With regard to Kosovo, I very much hope that snap elections will facilitate a solution for all thorny questions, which have long been waiting for a courageous way-out. As far as the situation in Albania is concerned, at the core of the crisis is fear of what will unfold with the justice reform enactment, a process that will have spillover effect on other chains of public life.

Asked about the role of Russia in our region, Minister of Foreign Affairs said all we want is normal relations with Russia and to explore the areas of mutual interest. However, there are not a few things where we disagree, he said. “Russia opposes expansion of NATO into the region, expresses itself against the activity of EU in our countries and is trying to promote by its means values, principles and ideas running against what our region has embraced. It sticks to its stand against Kosovo independence. In a few months Russia has made more public statements on Macedonia events than in the last two decades altogether.

Investigations into the foiled plan to create chaos and destabilize Montenegro have led to authorities of that country pointing the finger at Moscow.

According to Bushati, Russia does not miss a chance to link any difficulty encountered by the regional countries to EU meddling with their domestic policy.

In our view, Russia cannot be a reliable alternative to anyone in the region. We do not believe that anyone in the region would be so naive as to be tempted by the Russian offer against what the Euro-Atlantic process does offer. Under no circumstances is it going to be our choice.

Regarding Greece, minister Bushati is of view that our relations, despite the ups and downs, have been smooth: They are characterized by uninterrupted cooperation between strategic partners, neighbors which although do not agree on anything, they share the same vision on development of good neighborly relations, mutual respect and in turn engage in open conversation on anything concerning them.