Stability and Democracy in Albania: Clearing the Path towards European Integration
ALBANIA'S STABILITY—A CLEAR PATH TOWARDS
EUROPEAN INTEGRATION AND WIDER REGIONAL STABILITY
The recent January events in Albania have proved once again that more needs to be done in order to strengthen democracy, democratic institutions and rule of law. As a NATO member country Albania was expected to radiate stability in the still fragile region and to behave as a proper candidate for the EU integration status. However the recent events and the sudden damage these events brought to Albania's image, after years of stability, moderate foreign policy, economic and social developments, have once again put forward the idea that democracy or stability alone can not be a paradigm for a country's or regional development, but only a combination of both well-harmonised by social development and reforms which will make possible a clear separation from the communist past, would guarantee a steady development to the country which until not long ago was considered a regional hub.
Will Albania be able to get a proper Avis (opinion) and be commended by Brussels as a candidate country for EU accession? The 12 points plan put forward by the European Council in November 2010 regarding the criteria that Albania needs to fulfil for the candidate status, by and large demands a quick solution to the political stalemate that has captured Albania since the end of the last parliamentary elections in 2009. How important is Albania's future as an EU candidate country, for the rest of the Western Balkans?
Albania has just received visa liberalisation regime and its citizen can now move freely in the rest of Europe, however the same does not stand for Kosova the youngest state in world which unfortunately has remained as an isolated island in the Western Balkans. Macedonia remains aside of NATO and EU accession process due to a name dispute with its NATO and EU member neighbour Greece, its interethnic relations are worsening with more nationalistic rhetoric been used everyday and an opposition that has already boycotted the Macedonian parliament demanding early elections. Serbia that has just handed the answers of the questionnaire as an initial step to candidate status is feeling more secure now that Dick Marty's report has produced "a balance between the victim and the aggressor" and is clearly asking for quick and speedy talks with Prishtina without limiting them just to the technical part as the UN resolution that passed last summer suggests.
The events in Albania occurred only days after the Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty issued his report on "Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo". Albania who is busy trying to deal with it own political stalemate and the attack against state and democratic institutions has already voted in favour of the investigations by international institutions.
The big puzzle all over the Western Balkans remains, democracy vs stability or democracy and stability together are the only tool towards development, state cohesion and security in this part of the world.