Former Italian PM Calls for Quicker Implementation of Reform
Albanian Daily News
Published December 7, 2017
"Seeing Tirana today, which has changed a lot, is enough to understand the role of the internationals," said Mr. Prodi, who as Prime Minister of Italy, played a key role to take measures to help restore order in Albania engulfed by a bloody turmoil in 1997 following the collapse of pyramid schemes.
Recalling the events of that time, he said that if someone looks back, the worst is over, but the Albanian politics should carry properly the reforms as the only way in its EU integration drive. According to Mr. Prodi, everything should be done quickly, and the reformation of the judicial system, like the fight against crime and corruption, remained priorities.
"An important issue is the reforms which have been made but they must be carried out properly. The implementation of the reform in the judicial system, the fight against crime and corruption are priorities. Everything should be done as quickly as possible as it is the moment to act," said Mr. Prodi, who considered these moments as historical for Albania.
Raising the question if the Brexit would have a negative effect on the enlargement, the former Italian PM saw the positive impact of that process.
"I am not afraid that the Brexit will slow down the EU enlargement, including Albania's aim to join the Club," according to Mr. Prodi for whom all the Balkan area is a necessary part of Europe and a scenario of the EU. Also, he did not see any threat to the EU enlargement because of the political developments in Germany where Chancellor Merkel is trying to create a coalition government. "Germany's future coalition will not delay the EU enlargement," said Mr. Prodi.
"There are expectations for a new panorama regardless of the transition in Albania. We have found harmony with the people in Albania, which is moving ahead along the right path of the EU integration. These changes have fully transformed the face of Albania. But this process has not yet finished, that is it is not a concluded stage. There is work to be done to achieve the integration even though there is movement forward. There some criteria to be fulfilled besides the course of the politics. We should help Albania in this process," said Mr. Prodi.
The former EU President laid a special stress on what he called investment in youth. "We have to invest more in the young generation... There is no anti-European mood among the youth in Europe," he said.
In a reference to the Chinese Initiative 16+1 part of which Albania is Mr. Prodi saw besides its positive economic aspect the negative reaction with regards to its eventual aim to divide the European markets. Further on while turning back in time when Albania was the most isolated country in Europe having only China as its ally the former Italian PM said he was impressed by the fact that the Albanian Embassy in Beijing, where he was last week, is as large as the US Embassy there.
In conclusion, Mr. Prodi expressed his optimism about the future of the Balkans in its EU drive. "The Balkans EU accession is the end of the EU future," Prodi underlined expecting that Albania could be the leader in that process.
Contributions were made by the Austrian Ambassador, Johann Sattler, the Rector of the University of Tirana, Mynyr Koni, the Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, Artemis Dralo, while other speakers took the floor in two panels under the topics: "The role of internationals at particular junctures of the Albanian post-communist transition" and "The role of the internationals in the promotion of rule of law, human rights and democracy".

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