POLITICS
03/10/2013 13:56 BST | Updated 03/10/2013 14:00 BST

Tony Blair To Advise Albania On Joining European Union

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair listens to his introduction before he speaks at Lafayette College on Monday, April 8, 2013, in Easton, Pa. In his remarks Blair commented the late former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher's former spokesman, Tim Bell, said the former prime minister, known to both friends and foes as "The Iron Lady," died of a stroke Monday April 8, 2013. She was 87. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
AP
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair listens to his introduction before he speaks at Lafayette College on Monday, April 8, 2013, in Easton, Pa. In his remarks Blair commented the late former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher's former spokesman, Tim Bell, said the former prime minister, known to both friends and foes as "The Iron Lady," died of a stroke Monday April 8, 2013. She was 87. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Tony Blair will advise Albania's new socialist prime minister Edi Rama on how to get his country to join the European Union.

Rama said the former British Prime Minister would be "personally, totally and voluntarily" advising the Albanian government, making good use of his "extraordinary experience and political geniality".

Speaking at the announcement in Albania's capital in Tirana, Blair said: 'The big challenge with the government today is getting things done."

"The orientation toward Europe is immensely important, and personally I'd love to see this country join the family of European nations."

The 28-member bloc added its latest member in July when it accepted Croatia. Prime Minister Rama pledged in his election campaign to push for Albania's entry into the EU.

Albania is one of Europe's poorest nations, with its citizens getting an average salary of just 36,482 leks (£217) per month. Prime Minister Rama said that Blair would not be receiving a fee for his help.

The news comes after reports that Blair had bought his own £30 million private jet, which costs £7,000-an-hour to fly.

The plane boasts a stateroom, lounge, kitchen and bed, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

A spokesperson for Tony Blair said: 'Mr Blair and his team will provide advice at no cost to the Albanian government on how to modernise and implement a reform agenda.

'As Mr Blair has previously said were Mr Rama to become PM he would be happy to help, as both Albania and the region mean a huge amount to him, the conflict in Kosovo having been an important period in his Premiership.

'He congratulates him on that now having happened and looks forward to working with him in the future.'