Waiting to be visited (and to become an EU member)
🇦🇱 / Albania / #79
Have you ever been to Albania, the small country with a population of less than 3 million, sharing borders with Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, North Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south?
While I was reading the text of Alec Russell today, editor of the Financial Times Weekend, I thought (not for the first time) that this has to change.
After 30 years, Russell visited the country for a second time. He is reporting from a now liberal-minded (the country has taken several thousand Afghan refugees), youthful (its capital Tirana is European Youth Capital 2022), and democratic Balkan state.
Albania, which has in the past 30 years undergone a painful transition to rebuild its economy after the end of a strict communist regime, is still geared towards the EU. Eighteen years ago, the EU pledged to let Albania in once they had fulfilled criteria. Albania is still waiting – and still wanting.
Edi Rama, Albania's prime minister (and a former art professor), recently said that Albania would "never give up on Europe and on the EU". Obviously referring to leaders in the region allured by powers like Russia, China and Turkey, he said: "The others can bring money, investments, maybe even caviar, but they won't be able to bring what you need to build a functioning free country".
Have a nice day in a hopefully free country,