On the eve of the Albanian holiday, leaders of the five cities in the region in Tirana have founded the Union.
Tirana, Pristina, Preševo, Tetovo and Ulcinj formed the Union of Municipalities in the region a day before the Albanian flag, the day when Albania proclaimed the independence. Therefore, the move many interpret as the first step in the concrete action of creating a “Greater Albania”.
Leaders of the cities in Albania, Montenegro, FYROM and southern Serbia and Kosovo announce that their aim is exchange of experiences in the fields of urban planning, innovation, environment, culture and investment, but the head of the Parliamentary Committee for Kosovo and Metohija Milovan Drecun whole endeavour describes as provocation and says that bigger Albanian pretensions can be seen:
– Tetovo, as well Preševo are not Albanian cities. There live and Macedonians, and Serbs. Therefore, this seems like a mono-ethnic, intolerant and problematic project from the point of non-Albanian citizens who live in these areas.
Mayor of Preševo Shqiprim Arifi says to Večernje Novosti that there is no question of nationalist aspirations and that the point is better preparation of these five cities for entry into the European Union:
– This is not a political union and is not contrary to law, and a similar one can be formed with municipalities with Serbian majority from Albania, Bulgaria, Serbia … I’m the mayor of all citizens of Preševo, not only Albanians, but also Serbs, and I believe that from this cooperation will benefit all who live in Preševo. I cooperate and with the Government of Serbia.
Message of Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj after the meeting was:
– The five of us serve one-third of the Albanian population in the region and I believe that we have done something great for our nation.
Mayor of Pristina Shpend Ahmeti said that all energy should be directed towards the well-being of citizens.
President of the Coordination Body of the Government of Serbia for Preševo, Bujanovac and Medveđa Zoran Stanković does not worry about the signed platform:
– I would not doubt about it, because it happened on the eve of the Albanian flag. I believe that those who have signed it are responsible, reasonable and honest people and the signed will serve as guideline for their work that will bring prosperity to all who live in these municipalities and beyond. Serbs from the south have no reason for fear, because the work of this Union will be visible.