Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Kosovo - Albania

Delivered in Plenary - 7th July 2010

Mr President

The international community’s hasty and inconsistent approach towards Kosovo – and I await the ICG ruling with great interest – over the past decade has created a problem that will cost hard-pressed European taxpayers a lot of money. Kosovo cannot join the EU because five EU Member States refuse to recognise its sovereignty.

Corruption remains a huge problem in Kosovo, which is also a major transit centre for illegal narcotics and people trafficking. The economy is far too dependent on EU and Western aid, and there seems to be no easy way out of this impasse. Ten years ago, in a personal capacity, I advocated partition as an answer to the problem. This is a solution many Serbian politicians favour but one that few Western politicians would countenance for now.

My group, the ECR, does, however, fully support Albanian EU accession once they satisfy all the Copenhagen criteria and, in particular, improve their poor record on fighting corruption and organised crime. There is also an urgent need to solve the boycott by the opposition Socialists of the Parliament.

Speaking personally, I do find it hard to see how Albania can reconcile its full membership of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference with future CFSP positions if it becomes a member of the European Union, although I am partially reassured by the fact that it is already a full member of NATO.