Since 2007, European Movement in Albania has been active in analysing the European integration process. Work has initially focused on the technical and procedural aspects of EU accession for the Western Balkans, mainly targeting national institutions. However, as the region intensifies relations with the European Union, a better understanding of both the homogeneity and diversity of the European cultures and debates in Brussels by the wider public in Albania becomes a prerequisite for building stronger ties between societies.
This has been the motivation behind the launching of EuroSpeak at the beginning of 2011, the first magazine in Albanian focusing on EU affairs. To date, EMA has published twenty-one editions in printed version delivering in Albanian language the press review of key Brussels debates, developments in the region as well as a rich series of special reports and interviews with key personalities on Albania’s progress towards the EU.
EuroSpeak has been a contribution to filling the current information gap or limited coverage of EU topics, striving to provide quality, independent analysis which goes beyond fact listing or politicized statements. It has served to dismantle clichés on the EU-Western Balkan relations and stimulate a more critical and realistic thinking in the public opinion. Issues have been generally distributed in 2000 printed copies as well as through an e-mail list of about 4000 addresses, reaching many state institutions, universities, media, civil society and businesses. Given the nature of its readers, EuroSpeak frequently inspires TV and academic discussions.
The need for an online news portal dedicated to EU affairs As we consolidated our experience and the interest from the public grew, we acknowledged the limits of outreach through printed copies and PDF versions. Moreover, the growing interest from media, students, academics, etc. has evidenced the need for a more frequent update with news on European affairs. Therefore, in 2014 we moved to a next step of providing such information and analysis by creating in an online news portal in Albanian exclusively dedicated to EU affairs. Such step allows more access to young citizens and professionals outside of Tirana, following a sharp rise of access to internet throughout the country. Moreover, it enables a more regular refreshing of analysis, keeping the public updated virtually in real time with the main debates and issues within the EU. The EuroSpeak online news portal is the first EU affairs website in Albanian, providing a new window of information for the public.