Albania and NATO

Albania and NATO

Bloggers assess the country’s prospects for receiving an invitation to join NATO at the Bucharest summit in April.
By Klodjan Seferaj for Southeast European Times — 15/02/08

Albania hosted a joint maritime crisis response operation by NATO and partner countries last year. [NATO]
„Pascha Limani“ die größte Marine Basis der Albaner!

Albania stands a good chance of getting an invitation to join NATO in the near future, even though its reform process has not been as quick as the Alliance would like, local bloggers believe.

The country’s leaders have described NATO integration as a top national priority, vowing to leave no stone unturned in efforts to meet the requirements. Nevertheless, partisan battles between Prime Minister Sali Berisha’s ruling coalition and opposition parties have slowed the pace, and NATO officials — including Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer — have warned that the country still has work to do.

Writing at peshkupauje, Ll predicts Albania will nevertheless join NATO very soon. Although „nothing is official“ yet, the country will most likely get an invitation during the Alliance’s April summit, he believes.

Albania’s prospects, like those of fellow Adriatic Charter member Macedonia, are boosted by the need to ensure regional security, bloggers suggest.

„Albania and Macedonia will get the invitation only because of KOSOVO, in order to create a stable and secure region,“ writes Bledi.

„I am pro NATO membership — no doubts there. Even if they are below NATO standards, it is necessary for them to join the Alliance for the sake of regional security,“ he continues.

„Becoming a NATO member is both a technical and political decision,“ suggests L1. „In Albania’s case, the concerns are more political, because technically we don’t have anything to add to the Alliance.“

Albanian bloggers also have been debating a host of domestic issues. One of them is the privatisation of education — in particular, the surge in commercially-run institutions of higher learning.

Turn on the TV or open a newspaper and you’re likely to see an ad for one or more of these newly-established schools. The trend has incurred the wrath of some who worry that education is being commercialised, notes Adri. ….