The 6 billion euro fund, Bushati: The EU plan is not enough, the Balkans need 7 decades to reach Europe

The 6 billion euro fund, Bushati: The EU plan is not enough, the Balkans need 7

Ditmir Bushati, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, in an interview for Top Channel, analyzed the summit for Ukraine and the one between the EU and the Western Balkans.

He sees the 6 billion euro EU aid package aimed at the economic growth of the region as not enough to narrow the economic gap between our countries and the EU.

Muhamed Veliu: Albania, from a participating country in the past, now organizes in Tirana summits like the one for Ukraine and the other one between the countries of the region and the EU. What does this mean for our country, why Tirana in their organization?

Ditmir Bushati: Albania has demonstrated a consistent and ethical approach in terms of embodying Euro-Atlantic values ​​in our foreign policy. Since Albania joined NATO, we can say that it is the most experienced country in the Western Balkans, in this organization. And our presence in the Security Council has given an added value to the exercise of Albania's foreign policy. From the meeting that took place in Tirana, the message was conveyed to the country that has been the most stable, despite the geo-political storms in the region.

Muhamed Veliu: How realistic was the articulation of the request for co-production of armaments Albania-Ukraine by President Zelenskyy in Tirana and how did you see the final statement of the summit, which produced many comments?

Ditmir Bushati: The final declaration is a product of compromise. Not the same countries have the same political and geo-political reading of what is happening in the eastern neighborhood of the European Union. Serbia, for example, an ally of Russia in the region, has not joined the Western sanctions against Russia. It protects the regional integrity of Ukraine in a perverse way, paralleling it with NATO's intervention in Serbia 25 years ago. Investing in the security environment should be a daily process and we should be aware that membership in NATO is not enough to take security for granted.

Muhamed Veliu: At the EU-Western Balkans summit once again, the 6 billion euro fund, Bushati: The EU plan is not enough, the Balkans need 7 decades to reach Europe, the countries of the region engaged in accelerating reforms to benefit from the EU growth plan. How realistic are these commitments?

Ditmir Bushati: The EU growth plan is good news in itself, but it is not enough. Why is it not enough? Because according to the forecasts of the World Bank and the EBRD, it will take about seven and a half decades to achieve this convergence between us and the EU average, if it will be at this pace. With this plan, the inequality ratio between us and the EU cannot be significantly reduced. The Prime Minister rightly refers to the fact that it is not a question of money and in fact money is missing. What we need and lack a lot in the countries of the region is good governance, projects of a regional character and here I mean the countries that are part of the EU, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria to start and teach our countries with the concept of a larger European market. The investments needed in technology and especially in the green economy. All our countries have deep problems of good governance and policies of the economy of life that have to do with education, health, social care, with the contraction of the labor market. All these have brought us to a situation where we have a demographic threat. Without overcoming this, we cannot talk about sustainable economic development.

Muhamed Veliu: How and how much can Albania benefit from the EU's 6 billion euro package?

Ditmir Bushati: Albania has the opportunity to benefit from this package by first addressing the issue of good governance, corruption and organized crime and a social economic model on which the European Union is based.