“If Britain leaves, we are ready to replace them!” – Albanian PM on Brexit

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 05:13 GMT, Feb 23, 2016 |

Albania’s prime minister said on Monday (February 22) his country was “ready to replace” Britain in the European Union if they decide to leave the bloc.

A British exit from the EU would rock the Union – already shaken by differences over migration and the future of the euro zone – by ripping away its second-largest economy, one of its top two military powers and by far its richest financial centre.

But western Balkan leaders at a summit in London organised by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said that they thought British voters would choose to stay in an upcoming referendum.

“Britain won’t leave the European Union,” Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told journalists.

“But if Britain leaves we are ready to replace them! But it will not,” Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama chimed in.

Among Serbia’s neighbours in southeastern Europe, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia are already inside the EU, while Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Turkey are candidate nations along with Serbia. Bosnia and Kosovo also hope one day to join.