Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama was on an official visit in Brussels this week, to discuss with the European Commission when Albania can expect official accession negotiations to be opened with the EU.
The Bulgarian Presidency of the Council which starts in January of next year has stated that a priority for their presidency will be to make progress with enlargement of the EU to embrace applicant countries in the Western Balkans. Albania has been an official applicant since 2014, and the European Commission is due to publish a report updating Albania’s progress in February.
Other applicant countries include Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro.
Albania has made significant progress in implementing reforms of its judiciary in recent months, with help from the EU and the US, which should have a significant impact on tackling the law and enforcement agenda and the fight against corruption.
Critics say that further progress is still needed in these areas, but the Albanian Government feel strongly that they are now ready to move to the next level of EU integration. They argue that opening official talks will give the young Albanian electorate a clear future perspective of EU membership, and that this will act as a catalyst to assist the government to go deeper, further and faster with the reform process.