Candidate status does not come even for the Albanian`s Independence Centennial, no matter the extraordinary willingness of the European Commission to assist in this goal.
There are often large efforts to explain the backlogs of Albania’s EU integration path by the trauma that our state inherited from the cruel dictatorship or with the backwardness caused by the invaders over the centuries. Although, a number of EU member states were also occupied by the Ottoman Empire for centuries. While also Turkey itself is a candidate country. There are countries in the EU which were almost as long as Albania in the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha (Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania and Todor Zhivkov in Bulgaria). Nevertheless they have already achieved membership in the European Union. There are countries, which were destroyed by a-four-year war and yet up-to date they are on the verge of joining the EU, such as Croatia. Serbia, the country that sparked the wars in the former Yugoslavia and was bombed by NATO has now a candidate status. Montenegro, a country that has been independent for only 7 years, is currently negotiating membership. The only countries seeing Albania’s back on their path towards the EU are Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, but this is explained by the fact that these countries are not functional states and do not control their whole territory.
Taking into consideration all the above mentioned facts I do not see any reason for Albania’s continual failures! Any reason other than the political one!
The candidate status was not granted to Albanians for the third year in a row. And I strongly believe that was not because of the adaptation of three laws (as formal conditions mentioned in the European Commission Progress Report), but because the political class sees these major processes of the highest national interest – such as the EU integration – as a tool for their own benefits and does not really care for the advancement of the state. Obtaining candidate status with the current government in Tirana would be considered by the latest as a mean to help their campaign for the upcoming parliamentary elections, rather than a process in which the state has to go on no matter who is in power at a given moment in history.
It is the bitter experience with previous elections in Albania, with frauds that can hardly be explained by the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha, what makes countries like the Netherlands, UK, Germany and many others, unsupportive of the possibility of granting candidate status to Albania before it proves conclusively that it is ready to comply with the minimum of European principles, such as the development of ‘normal’ electoral process. Time has come for Albania to prove that, like all other European countries, it is able to hold democratic elections without manipulations.
However, what makes the persistent stagnation of Albania even harder to swallow is the fact that the politicians educated in western countries are not helping either in improving the country’s political culture. Instead of bringing to Albania the best democratic practices, which I have seen in countries where they have studied and lived, they willingly embrace the ‘Albanian style’ and use the politics as a profitable business with the aim of getting their pockets filled.