21 December 2019 Interview of President Meta with Bosnian Television “O Channel”: It’s Not Time to Auction Our Future. We are ahead of the test on how much we believe in Euro-Atlantic values
Journalist: The European Union said “no” to Albania and Northern Macedonia on the opening accession negotiations, again postponing the possibility of opening negotiations in the spring. Your opinion on this process?
President Meta: Now is the time for us to redouble our efforts and consider this hesitation, the lack of a positive decision, also due to internal debates and reforms within the European Union, as a test for our countries.
We must show that our commitment to develop our countries and the region based on European values is serious.
This is a test we must pass successfully and we must also convince skeptical countries, that we are serious countries, that we are fully motivated and remain committed to building a European future for our countries and our societies, and that we deserve a greater support in the future.
It is not the moment and time to show that we are not serious or that we are looking for other options, because doing so will raise doubts among people within the EU who are skeptical of Europe’s future expansion. We would also weaken all our supporters within the EU, and most of the countries and forces within the EU are in favor of expanding the union and involving all Western Balkan countries, not just for Albania and Northern Macedonia.
Therefore we have to keep up with the reforms and show that we are making these reforms primarily for our citizens and that we cannot abandon the EU project, because for us, the countries in this region, this is also a project essential to guaranteeing long-term peace, stability, coexistence, respect for all minorities in this region, so as not to return to the dark period of conflict that has destroyed our people and our countries in the past.
Journalist: Mr. President, it is already more than 20 years that Albania has been waiting for the opening of accession negotiations with the European Union. How much do you think you’ll have to wait yet?
President Meta: We expected this to happen time ago, but we must continue with these reforms, we must work together, not only with Northern Macedonia, but also with other Western Balkan countries, all partners to improve the economy, improve the rule of law, have a better business climate for foreign investors, fight organized crime, which is a headache for many EU countries, to discourage demands of asylum seekers from Albania to the EU, which is also another headache for some countries skeptical of EU enlargement in our region.
And if we do, I’m sure our efforts will be successful, so let’s take this as a test to show how serious and engaged we are, whether we are true Europeans or are very pragmatic and thus open a auction to see who will offer more and as soon as possible without considering the fact that our future needs solid foundations and only European values are the proper foundations in the long run and the prosperity for our country .