If Kosovo, Albania & Macedonia are considered for EU membership, why not independent Scotland & Catalonia? – Puigdemont


12-12-19 08:17:00,

The EU can be prosperous even if it comprises of scores of small independent nations, says fugitive former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont in an interview with former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa on RT Spanish.

The former Catalan president is a wanted man in Spain for organizing a referendum on the independence of his home state two years ago. Voices opposing Catalan independence came not only from Madrid, but also Brussels.

For example, then-European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said it would be impossible to manage the EU, if it had 98 members, which, he predicted, would eventually happen if Catalonia was allowed to do what it wanted. Puigdemont said this line of reasoning has an obvious flaw.

“They told us: ‘Taking in Scotland, Catalonia, Flanders – that would be too complicated’. We could take that, but at the same time the EU was seeking to expand from 28 members to 30 or even 32,” he said in an interview with former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa on RT Spanish. They are negotiating with Kosovo, [Northern] Macedonia, Albania on their accession.” Puigdemont said the EU could be a functional union with wealthy and happy residents, even if composed of tiny countries.

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There is, of course, an obvious distinction between the lands he mentioned. The former three are parts of internationally-recognized states. Albania and Northern Macedonia are sovereign nations in their own right while the status of Kosovo is highly disputed. 

Puigdemont argued breakaway regions like Catalonia should not get a different treatment simply because of how borders were set sometime in the past.

Mapmakers will have to make changes many times, because, thankfully, borders do change. Our aspiration is that those changes were enacted not through wars, marriages among royal families, and colonization, but according to the will of the people.

Puigdemont insists that the example of a non-violent battle for independence which he and his supporters set should be welcomed. Otherwise people with similar aspirations would see that “the only way of becoming independent is [through] war and armed conflict,

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US Forces Albania To Take IS Fighters

US Forces Albania To Take IS Fighters

24-09-18 05:07:00,

US Forces Albania To Take IS Fighters After Hosting MEK

Edi Rama at a NATO meeting (DOD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro)Edi Rama at a NATO meeting (DOD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro)

by Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh
“Albania will become a coordination center for fighters returning from ISIS to the Balkans,” announced Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov during a joint press conference with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama during a conference against violent extremism, which took place in Tirana this week.
Neither prime minister offered additional details, such as who is pushing this plan or with whom it is being negotiated. This vagueness generated criticism that Rama had not only failed to consult with parliament on this matter of grave importance to his country but perhaps he himself was not fully consulted.
Albania has been used before to host undesirables. In 2005, the United States sent five inmates from Guantanamo Bay there. Between 2013 and 2016, Washington also relocated 2,901 Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) extremists there from Iraq, which had been trying to expel them since 2003.
Now, the Trump administration is telling Albania to host and de-radicalize former Islamic State (ISIS or IS) fighters who originated from the Balkans region. According to Colonel Bardhyl Kollcaku, head of Albania’s Intelligence and Security Agency, “We have the appropriate experience to contribute in the study and addressing the phenomenon of foreign fighters.”
If the MEK had been de-radicalized, Kollcaku’s assertion would be credible. But they weren’t.
In 2013, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pragmatically removed the MEK from the US terrorism list to allow members to be sent to third countries so that Iraq could be rid of them. European countries would not take them because of their terrorist past. Instead, the Albanian government agreed to take them only on the promise that a de-radicalization institute be established to reintegrate the extremists back into society.
This did not happen. The allocated budget, lodged with the American embassy in Tirana, has not been touched. Instead, after Donald Trump became president and set about dismantling every detail of Barack Obama’s legacy, the MEK were “allowed” to regroup.
Regrouping meant that the MEK would continue to call for violent regime change against Iran, backed by US extremists like Rudi Giuliani and John Bolton who now occupy influential posts in the Trump administration.  » Lees verder