Albania is expected to make a significant step forward on its path towards EU integration.
According to the progress report, which will be published today, but has already been disclosed by foreign and domestic media, the European Commission has recommended opening accession negotiations with Albania and Macedonia, but not Turkey. For Albania, the opening of negotiations is conditioned by the further progress of judicial reform, especially the vetting process.
According to the report, “Taking into account the progress made, the Commission recommends opening negotiations with Albania to maintain and deepen the pace of reforms in the area of ai??i??ai??i??rule of law, especially about the five key priorities and concrete results during the vetting of judges and prosecutors, which is crucial to further progress “.
The Commission has made positive appraisals of the fight against drug cultivation in 2017, progress in combating corruption, as there has been an increase in the penalties of low and middle-ranking officials, public administration reform has also been positive, while criticizing the increase of political polarization, reports.
Four years ago, Albania received the status of a candidate country in the EU and during this period worked hard to meet the conditions for moving to the next phases that of opening negotiations.
After the opening of the negotiations, special chapters will be opened, with the most difficult being 23 and 24, dealing with the justice system, internal affairs and human rights. These aspects will accompany all the process of negotiations, as these are assessed to be weak points throughout the Balkans. Then it will be continued with the other chapters, where detailed plans will be laid down. Then the process follows up with the closing of chapters, which means that all requirements are met and implemented. Then comes membership. Croatia took about 8 years, but for us this road could be even longer.
Ai??Some important dates of Albania’s “journey” towards the European family
1992 – Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Albania. Albania benefits from funding under the EU’s “Pare” program.
1997 – Regional Approach. The EU Council of Ministers establishes political and economic conditionality for the development of bilateral relations.
1999 – Albania benefits from the Autonomous Trade Preferences with the EU.
1999 – The EU proposes a new Stabilization and Association Process (SAP) for five Southeast European countries, including Albania.
June 2000 – The European Council in Feira says all SAP countries are “potential candidates” for EU membership.
November 2000 – The Zagreb Summit launched the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) for five Southeast European countries, including Albania.
2000 – Expansion of duty-free access to the EU market for “made in Albania” products.
2001 – The Commission recommends undertaking SAA negotiations with Albania. The European Council of Gothenborg invites the Commission to present the draft directives for the negotiation of the SAA.
2001 – First year of the “Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Development and Stabilization” (CARDS) program specifically designed for Stabilization and Association Processes.
October 2002 – SAA Negotiating Directives Adopted.
January 2003 – Commission President Romano Prodi officially opened negotiations for the SAA between the EU and Albania.
June 2003 – The Stabilization and Association Process (SAP) was confirmed at the European Council of Thessaloniki as an EU policy for the Western Balkans.
June 2004 – The Council decided on the first European Partnership for Albania.
January 2006 – The Council reviewed the European partnership with Albania.
May 2006 – The entry into force of the EC-Albania readmission agreement.
June 2006 – The signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) at the General Affairs and External Relations Council in Luxembourg.
December 2006 – Entry into force of the Interim (Readmission) Agreement.
January 2007 ai??i?? Entry into force of the Pre-Accession (IPA) Instrument.
May 2007 – Adoption of Multi-annual Indicative Planning Document
September 2007 – Signing the visa facilitation agreement between Albania and the EU.
18 October 2007 – Albania signs the IPA Framework Agreement
January 2008 – The visa facilitation agreement enters into force.
January 22, 2008 – Albania and the EC sign the Financial Agreement for the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA Program).
March 2008 – Launch of the visa liberalization dialogue.
June 2008 – The European Commission presents the roadmap identifying the specific requirements for visa liberalization with Albania.
1 April 2009 – The Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) comes into force.
April 28, 2009 – Albania submits its application for EU membership.
April 15, 2010 – Albania delivers replies to the Commission’s Questionnaire.
May 27, 2010 – The European Commission adopted a proposal enabling citizens of Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina to travel to Schengen countries without the need for a short-term visa.