Albania Parties Trade Blame Over EU Deadlock

Opposition and government point fingers after the EU Council of Ministers on Tuesday said Albania had made little progress towards membership.

Albania’s government has blamed the Socialist-led opposition for the country’s sluggish progress towards EU membership.

‘Albania has not received candidate status for two consecutive years… because of the political deadlock created by the lack of good will from the opposition,’ the EU Integration Minister, Majlinda Bregu, said.

‘If the opposition had not refused to cooperate with the government in meeting the political criteria for integration for the last two years, [EU] candidacy would be a reality today,” Bregu added.

Responding to Bregu’s statement, the opposition Socialists pointed the finger in the opposite direction. They said the centre-right government of Sali Berisha for the country’s were to blame for limited progress toward membership.

‘The government holds a major responsibility for our failure twice in a row with [obtaining EU candidate] status,’ the Socialists said in a statement.

‘The conclusions of the EU Council meeting give a clear picture of the democratic and instructional deficiencies in our country,’ they added.

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

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

Last year, the Commission issued 12 recommendations on policy areas that needed to be addressed with reforms in order for Tirana to obtain EU candidate status and open the door for a possible date for negotiations.  

However, the Council of foreign ministers in Brussels, which is discussing the enlargement process in the Western Balkans among other issues, welcomed the recent start to dialogue in Tirana between the government and opposition.

It underlined the need to overcome the stalemate that has dominated the Albanian domestic political scene.

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