“Serbia will not join the European Union before Albania, even though Belgrade has been designated a front-runner in the race for membership, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said.

‘Serbia will not become a member of the EU before Albania. This is something we know for sure,’ he said.

‘Serbia has to go through the painful process of recognizing Kosovo or at least [solving] the Kosovo problem,’ Rama said. ‘I strongly believe some magic has to happen — which will not happen — so that they get into the EU before us.’

Although relations between Belgrade and Tirana have improved markedly in recent years, tension and rivalry between the two countries remain.

Serbia and Albania were on opposite sides of the 1998-1999 Kosovo war, when guerrillas from the territory’s ethnic Albanian majority fought to end Serb rule. Belgrade continues to regard Kosovo as a rebel province of Serbia while Tirana has forged close relations with Pristina. Rama suggested last month that Albania and Kosovo could even have a joint president.” (Politico EU)