Albania will only be able to move forward towards EU membership when it starts showing more progress on its reform agenda, the Council of Ministers underlined on Tuesday.
‘Albania has made limited progress in meeting the political criteria for membership and the 12 key priorities for the opening of accession negotiations,’ the Council of Ministers said in Brussels.
‘Further efforts are particularly required in key areas including the judiciary, the fight against organised crime and corruption and the protection of minorities as well as property rights,’ it 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.
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 centre-right government and the centre-left opposition.
It underlined the need to overcome the stalemate that has dominated the Albanian domestic political scene.
‘The Council encourages the government and the opposition to build on these recent positive developments, fully restoring and sustaining a constructive political dialogue, to support the proper functioning and the independence of key democratic institutions, notably the parliament and the judiciary,’ the EU said.