LONDON – Albanian PM Edi Rama said on Monday Serbia was advancing more quickly along the EU path because of “the Russia factor”, and Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic replied to the remark, which was a digression from the topic of an EBRD summit in London, by saying he did not know an election campaign was underway in Albania.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama speaks at the news conference with visiting Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, the first Serbian leader to visit the nation after a troubled past, at the Palace of Brigades in the Albanian capital, Tirana, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Both countries are trying to overcome their troubled past while working toward EU membership. Relations between the two Balkan states remain strained, mainly over the former Serbian province of Kosovo where majority ethnic Albanians declared independence in 2008 which Serbia refused to recognize. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

The EU is more favourably disposed to Serbia than to us, as we do not have Russia. They keep Albanians in Kosovo without visa liberalisation, keep telling us that we are doing fine, but that there is more to be done. And then, he (Vucic) flies to Russia and gets the start of EU entry talks, Rama said humorously.

Going on in the same vein, Rama said this was not criticism, but described it as “well-played”.

This ensued when Vucic was explaining, in reply to a question from the audience, Serbia’s ties with Russia in the context of EU integration.