Music superstar Dua Lipa granted Albanian citizenship in her homeland, Albania, in a stunning move that may make Europe reconsider the region’s stance on immigration to the European Union.
Albania’s Prime Minister, Edi Rama, congratulated Lipa on taking the decision, saying that it would make Albanians proud at home. Rama said the country would support the British singer’s desire to leave the country.
“We are a small country with big ambitions. We can welcome anyone. We welcome Dua Lipa with big hearts,” Rama said. He added that the decision would “make Albanians proud” at home.
The singer’s move was celebrated in the Albanian media with calls to expel her, and a hashtag on Twitter used by opponents of her decision to describe her as an “immigrant”.
Lipa, 30, said she could not live in Albania because, she said, it was “too small”.
She was born in Australia to British parents and raised in New York and Europe.
She has scored hits in the United States, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia, and won both the best female vocalist and best pop vocalist at the 2005 Brit Awards.
The singer is a member of the Australian Recording Industry Association and was a signatory to a letter sent to the High Commission of the UK in 2014.
On Wednesday, Albanian and Irish media, citing unnamed sources, said the singer had received a UK passport “and was planning a vacation outside of Albania” in order to use it.
“The process has already started and she is already enrolled in the process. We’re still working to see how the visa will be processed,” an EU spokesman said.
It is not the first time that a celebrity left or was removed from an EU country without explanation.
In 2017, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder was expelled from Russia. His lawyer said Schröder, who is now 87, had no intention of leaving, but his expulsion followed a decision by the Russian government.