Albania Eyes Prize of EU Candidate Status

After being shunned for two years in a row, Albania expects to obtain EU candidate status on Wednesday, though such a recommendation will likely come with a host of conditions.The European Commission is expected this week to recommend granting EU candidate status to Albania, “considering the improvement in the political climate compared to last year and the consensual adoption of some important reforms”, the European Movement in Albania, EMA, says.

“However, it also appears that it will be a conditional recommendation, accompanied by a list of conditions, such as the continuation of political dialogue, judicial reform and the fight against corruption and organized crime,” EMA adds.

Albania first applied for EU candidacy in April 2009 but its bid was turned down for the second time last October.

The European Commission said not enough progress had been made in political dialogue, the fight against organized crime and against corruption.

The European Commission has issued 12 recommendations on policy areas that must be addressed before Tirana can obtain candidate status, and a possible date for negotiations.

According to the EMA, conditional recommendation could help the continuation of reforms in Albania, even during the run-up to next spring’s parliamentary elections.

The EMA recommends that the EU should give particular importance to the preparation, organization and successful completion of the electoral process, not only because of Albania’s troubled electoral history but because it directly impacts on other key areas.

“Success in the election process along with the progress of reforms that help the functioning and preservation of the independence of the institutions would be confirmation of the institutional and political maturity achieved by Albania”, the Tirana-based think tank concludes.

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