Experts are confident Albania will obtain EU candidate status

16/06/2014

The optimism is based on the recent European Commission recommendation for candidate membership status.

By Erl Murati for Southeast European Times in Tirana -- 16/06/2014

photo

EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule (left) and Albania Prime Minister Edi Rama meet in Tirana on June 4th. [AFP]

Onlookers said they expect the European Council to follow a recommendation by the European Commission (EC) that Albania obtain EU candidate member status.

The EC issued a report stating Albania has made progress, but it recommended the country continue on-going reforms, improve its efforts against organised crime and nurture political compromise.

"Albania is on the right track," said EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule. "We confirm without any conditions or reservations the recommendation that the member states grants the candidate status to Albania."

Last December, the European Council did not grant Albania candidate status.

"This time around, the member states unambiguously declared Albania will have a very clear assessment based on the progress report that was recently made public," Klajda Gjosha, minister of integration of Albania, told SETimes. "I hope that the member states keep their promise like they declared in our bilateral meetings."

Gjosha said she is optimistic the results of the elections for European Parliament last month, which included a number of elected EU-sceptic candidates, will not impact the European Council's decision on Albania.

"[T]he first parliamentary session will convene in July, after the decision on candidate status for Albania," Gjosha told for SETimes.

The decision is likely because the EU is aware it will not be complete if the integration project remains half-way finished, according to Majlinda Bregu, chairwoman of the parliamentary committee on integration.

"This project means democracy, safety, civics, competition and challenge. But granting Albania candidate status is a late decision," Bregu told SETimes.

About 85 percent of Albanians support their country's integration in the EU, according to a recent poll by the Albanian Institute for International Studies in Tirana. "From the aspect of political relations with the EU, a candidate status will produce a positive psychological effect on Albania as it will bring the country to the antechamber of Albania's membership in the Union, thus making possible the receiving of the date for the opening of negotiations at another stage," Geron Kamberi, associate researcher the Albanian Institute for International Studies in Tirana, told SETimes.

But Kamberi cautioned specific country conditions, lack of internal political cohesion, and poor administrative capacity to move the process forward may slow down the integration process.

"If the entire political spectrum is committed to support the key reforms, the hurdles may become easily passable," he said.

Related Articles

Loading

The expected EU candidate status will bring about a closer relationship with Brussels and will reflect an improvement of Albania's image and standing, according to Gledis Gjipali, executive director of the European Movement of Albania.

Gjapali said Albania will particularly benefit by using funds from the Pre-Accession Instrument (IPA) II until 2020, once it establishes and accredits institutions to manage the funds.

"The government should pay special attention to such institutions in order not to lose time and bring advantage to businesses, young professionals, farmers, and so forth, as soon as possible. But from the [overall] economic aspect, membership status will increase the foreign companies' and international organizations' trust in Albania, so they can bring much-needed foreign investments," Gjipali told SETimes.

What can Albania do to improve its chances to obtain EU candidate member status? Share your opinion in the comments section.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
Loading
Vote
 
 
  • Email to a friend
  • icon Print Version
  • Share/Save/Bookmark

We welcome your comments on SETimes's articles.

It is our hope that you will use this forum to interact with other readers across Southeast Europe. In order to keep this experience interesting, we ask you to follow the rules outlined in the comments policy. By submitting comments, you are consenting to these rules. While SETimes.com encourages discussion on all subjects, including sensitive ones, the comments posted are solely the views of those submitting them. SETimes.com does not necessarily endorse or agree with the ideas, views, or opinions voiced in these comments. SETimes.com welcomes constructive discussion but discourages the use of copy-pasted materials, unaccompanied links and one-line slogans. This is a moderated forum. Comments deemed abusive, offensive, or those containing profanity may not be published.

SETimes's Comments Policy

Focus on Ukraine

Reportage

Region works to solve Roma housing crisisRegion works to solve Roma housing crisis

Countries are focusing on helping the minority group to legalise their housing settlements.

SETimes logo

Most Popular

Loading
Loading
Loading

Poll

Some Balkan nations are working together to respond to illegal activities, such as cyber crime. Would you like to see this co-operation increase?

Yes
No
I don't know