The European Commission’s Directorate General for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations has been unable to respond to the question whether the EU Council has set any conditions for Albania to meet before the actual opening of EU accession negotiations.
The question was posed in Monday’s session of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee by Croatian MEP Tonino Picula of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Group.
Possibly in view of Prime Minister Edi Rama’s denial of EU conditions on his government, Picula asked the European Commission for clarifications: “We saw different interpretations of the March Council conclusions. Can you bring clarification concerning the issue of the conditions to be fulfilled before the first intergovernmental conference?”
Director for Western Balkans Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, who had earlier presented and praised the Albanian government’s achievements in meeting these these conditions, was nevertheless unable to clarify whether they exist or not.
“All the aspects that have been identified in the March conclusions – they are fifteen in particular – are all very important for the progress of Albania towards the European Union. But I will say that we have to differentiate, there is a sequence… They are not 15 conditions to open, to have the first intergovernmental conference. They are conditions that will be necessary before the intergovernmental conference, and they are conditions that will be necessary in the future progress of Albania towards the European Union. All of them will be reflected in the negotiations framework and, of course, will have to be discussed by the EU member states in the Council,” Ruiz Calavera replied.
Her confusing response – “they are not 15 conditions to have the first intergovernmental conference” but “15 conditions that will be necessary before the intergovernmental conference” – does not answer the question whether Albania can sit in talks without meeting these conditions.