EC Recommends Conditional Accession Negotiations

Today the European Commission (EC) recommended the twenty-eight EU member states to open accession negotiations with Albania, which are, however, “strictly subject to credible and tangible progress in the implementation of the judicial reform, in particular the re-evaluation of judges and prosecutors (‘vetting’).”

The EC writes that Albania has made progress on the five priorities set by the EU: justice reform; fight against corruption; against drugs; reform of public administration; and the protection of human rights. Nevertheless, for all five points the EC recommends further effort, especially in the implementation of the reforms and the fight against drugs and corruption. The EC also seeks electoral reform and the depoliticization of the election committees.

Main points of the Progress Report:

  • Amendments to the electoral code are expected before the upcoming national elections; electoral administration should be depoliticized.
  • The vetting law and other laws supporting the constitutional reform regarding the judiciary should be implemented, while justice system remains slow and corrupt.
  • Corruption at high level remains an issue, further effort required.
  • Communication between prosecution and police need to be further strengthened in the fight against organized crime. Too little convictions and lack of investigation of crime financing.
  • Human rights legislation, although implemented, is poorly enforced. Mechanisms to protect the rights of children and tackling gender-based violence are functioning poorly.
  • Public debt and unemployment remain high, government continues to overspend.
  • Quality of education remains low, not enough to deal with EU competition.
  • High number of Albanian asylum seekers in EU is unacceptable and requires immediate action.

On December 28, the EU members will vote on the EC recommendation. Before that, the Venice Commission is expected to have answered the Constitutional Court regarding the vetting legislation.