From: Exit Staff
Majlinda Dhuka Takes Over as Chief EU Negotiator for Albania

On Saturday (30 July), Majlinda Dhuka has officially started her tenure as Chief Negotiator for Albania’s accession to the European Union, replacing Zef Mazi.

Prime Minister Edi Rama announced the decision last Monday, shortly after Albania held its first Intergovernmental Conference signalling the opening of negotiations with the EU.

“The appointment of the new chief negotiator underlines the change in the nature of relations between us and the EU… Ambassador Mazi did a very commendable diplomatic job, he was of great support to me…until the negotiations opened. [But] the technical nature of the process requires a highly technical profile,” Rama said about Dhuka’s appointment.

Majlinda Dhuka holds a PhD in Law and has been a close collaborator of Rama since his time as mayor of Tirana.

Prior to taking over as Chief EU negotiator, she served as Director of the Governance and Development at the Prime Minister’s Office, but held no diplomatic posts.

Albania was awarded candidate status in 2014, but had to wait another eight years before it could begin negotiations. While the Council recommended that negotiations be opened as early as 2018, issues between North Macedonia and Bulgaria stalled any further progress as the countries are being evaluated together.

Both Albania and North Macedonia will now go through a screening process to ascertain the state of their preparation for opening negotiations in specific areas which are grouped in chapters and clusters. The European Council will decide unanimously which cluster can be opened, and agree on which areas can be accelerated in line with applicable rules and procedures.

Closing each chapter can take years. Serbia opened negotiations in 2014, and Montenegro in 2012, but talks are still ongoing and accession in the near future appears unlikely.

Read More:

Albania and North Macedonia’s EU Accession: What Happens Now?