23rd Aug 2019

Albania told to implement reforms before winning closer EU ties

The EU on Monday (5 May) said it was too early to set a date for the next step in Albania's EU integration process, demanding instead that promised reforms be implemented first.

"I do not think that we can take a precise engagement at this stage," said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, referring to the formal step of giving Albania EU candidate status.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

First, Tirana needs to demonstrate it is implementing the reforms it has promised. It needs a "solid track record", Mr Barroso told journalists after meeting Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha in Brussels.

When the commission is "convinced that the reforms are consolidated, only then we will be in a position to guarantee the next step," he stressed.

Albania signed a pre-accession deal with the EU – a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) – in June 2006.

The next step in the country's EU integration process would be for it to apply for EU membership and subsequently be given the status of EU candidate country.

At this stage, only two western Balkan states – Croatia and Macedonia – as well as Turkey have the status of EU candidates.

Last week, Albanian opposition leader Edi Rama at a conference in Brussels called on his government to submit the official application for EU membership by September.

This would shift the country out of "this comfortable situation that is created by taking the European integration as something obvious, something for granted, as something that one day will come," Mr Rama said.

For his part, Mr Berisha admitted that the demands of the opposition as well as of "all Albanians" to see their country become an EU candidate as soon as possible were "legitimate", but refused to commit to a specific time-frame.

"I think that the process needs to be a convincing one for all [EU] member states, and for the commission, and I cannot say a [specific] date" for this, the prime minister said.

"All that I can tell you is that I will work hard to succeed as soon as possible," he added, underlining that his government had already made some progress.

Among other things, the EU is asking Albania to better fight corruption and organised crime, as well as to improve its judiciary and its administrative capacity.

EU split on Western Balkans accession

Europe's credibility is at risk in the Western Balkans, half its member states have warned - but EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Albania and North Macedonia unlikely to start accession talks soon.

Tensions mount over Kosovo-Serbia deal

Serbia will never recognise Kosovo, Serbia's foreign minister has said, as the Western Balkans heads into a new period of turbulence.

News in Brief

  1. Ocean Viking to disembark in Malta after ordeal
  2. Germany joins France in world outcry on Brazil fires
  3. British people lose faith in Brexit deal
  4. Brexit hardliners want further changes to EU deal
  5. German manufacturers confirm fear of recession
  6. Belgian socialists and liberals scrap over EU post
  7. Fall in EU migration leading to UK skills shortages
  8. Switzerland makes post-Brexit flight preparations


EU report recognises Albania's achievements

Albania currently faces a serious crisis, which it would be foolish for all actors in the international community to ignore. Yet we must ask that our partners in Europe read Federica Mogherini's report carefully and recognise accomplishments.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. Spain heading for yet another general election
  2. EU to discuss Brazil beef ban over Amazon fires
  3. 'Our house is burning,' Macron says on Amazon fires
  4. What happens when trafficking survivors get home
  5. EU states and Russia clash on truth of WW2 pact
  6. EU considers new rules on facial recognition
  7. EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit
  8. Letter from the EESC on per diem article

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us