Foreign forces working against region's pro-EU policy: Albanian PM

Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania, addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York, October 2, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar

BERLIN (Reuters) - Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama on Monday criticized foreign countries for interfering in the politics of the West Balkan states at a time of widespread concern about Russia’s influence.

Rama did not mention Russia by name but diplomats from the region have complained for some time that Russia is trying to boost its influence in countries such as Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia and now also Albania.

“In our region people from abroad who will ... exploit any uncertainty to ruin our relations with the EU are active,” he said at a news conference in Berlin before meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency raised concerns this month that Russia may seek to interfere in its national elections next year, echoing concerns raised in by intelligence officials in the United States before Donald Trump’s presidential election victory.

Rama stressed that his country would continue to move towards EU accession.

Also speaking before they met, Merkel praised domestic political reforms in Albania but said further steps needed to be taken such as on judicial reform and combating corruption.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Louise Ireland