As published in the Scottish Express:
PM urged to keep Albania out of EU
THERE were calls yesterday from senior Tories for David Cameron to block Albania’s bid to join the European Union.
This week in Brussels, EU leaders will vote on whether to let the former Communist dictatorship move closer to EU membership by joining the “candidate list”. But there are fears from some Tories over opening the door to migrants from a povertystricken country notorious for organised crime and human trafficking.
They want the PM to veto any new countries’ admission until he has renegotiated rules on free movement. Former Tory leadership candidate David Davis said: “You shouldn’t allow any other countries in until we’ve got free movement put on to a qualification rather than time basis. In other words, until they have got their income and other things up to a certain level.”
Alan Murad, of the Get Britain Out anti-EU campaign, said the prospect of Albania joining the EU was “extremely concerning”. He said: “Unemployment there remains staggeringly high while wages remain at rock bottom. The EU is willfully ignoring corruption, human trafficking and organised crime in aid of EU expansion ambitions.”
Albania is one of Europe’s poorest states with unemployment at 17 per cent and an average monthly wage of £305.
The PM has promised to limit Albanians’ rights to travel here but not said how. A source predicted he would back its candidature – but the Foreign Office said Albania’s reforms were still under consideration.
“We are looking at reforms Albania continues to pursue with a view to further discussions with EU partners,” said a spokesman.