EU candidate status for Albania
Ministers from the EU Member States have agreed – based on the recommendation by the European Commission to grant EU candidate status to Albania, subject to endorsement by EU heads of states at the forthcoming European Council on Friday in Brussels.
For Albania, the decision should translate into a strengthened endorsement of its reform agenda: Albania still needs to meet key priorities, with particular focus on administration and judiciary reform, fight against corruption and organised crime and fundamental rights, as highlighted in the Council Conclusions of December 2013 Moreover, a constructive and sustainable political dialogue will remain essential to consolidate and continue reforms.
Candidate status does not mean that the EU will automatically start accession negotiations with Albania, which is a subsequent, separate step in the EU integration process, for which additional progress, in the key priorities, is required.
EU-Albania relations - timeline
Along with other Western Balkan countries, Albania was recognised as a potential country for EU membership in 2003. A Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) entered into force on 1 April 2009. In the same month, Albania submitted its application for EU membership. The Commission recommended that Albania be granted EU candidate status in October 2013. The Commission reconfirmed its recommendation in its June 2014 report to the Council.
What does candidate status mean in practice?
Being recognised as an EU candidate country has a number of implications for Albania. It is an important political signal for Albania and its citizens, showing that the country is moving to the next phase of the European integration process. From an economic perspective, candidate status will encourage foreign investments and, as a result, lead to job creation.
The candidate status raises the relationship between Albania and the EU to a higher level: Albania will now receive invitations to Council meetings open to candidate countries. Its access and cooperation with EU agencies will be easier – for example its participation in the Fundamental Rights Agency as an observer. Joint Committees between Albania and the Committee of Regions as well as the Economic and Social Committee might also be set up. As a candidate country, Albania will continue to profit from EU funds under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) in order to carry out comprehensive reforms and strategic investments, and will benefit from the participation in EU programmes.
The way forward
The European Commission will continue to work closely together with Albania to support its reforms and prepare it for the next step in the integration process, namely the opening of accession negotiations. The opening of negotiations depends on further concrete and sustainable reforms in Albania; agreement from all EU Member States is also required.
Latest News from
Basic air connectivity in the event of no-deal Brexit – provisional agreement with the Parliament20/02/2019 16:25:00
The agreement will enable UK-licenced carriers to provide basic air transport services between the UK and the remaining 27 member states. These rights will be conditional on equivalent rights being conferred by the UK and subject to conditions ensuring fair competition.
Persistent organic pollutants: Provisional agreement on the world's most dangerous pollutants20/02/2019 15:42:00
The Romanian presidency of the Council has reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on updating the regulation on persistent organic pollutants, the UN-agreed list of dangerous substances.
EC confirms unannounced inspections in the farmed Atlantic salmon sector20/02/2019 14:10:00
The EC can confirm that on 19 February 2019 its officials carried out unannounced inspections in several Member States at the premises of several companies in the sector of farmed Atlantic salmon.
Security for ID documents: Council Presidency & European Parliament reach provisional agreement20/02/2019 13:43:00
The EU is introducing tighter security for ID cards in order to reduce identity fraud.
EIOPA calls upon national supervisory authorities to minimise the detriment if No Deal Brexit20/02/2019 12:25:00
EIOPA calls upon national supervisory authorities to minimise the detriment to insurance policyholders and benificiaries in case of a no withdrawal agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
Immigration liaison officers: Council Presidency and European Parliament reach provisional agreement19/02/2019 16:25:00
The EU is strengthening the cooperation & coordination between liaison officers deployed to third countries by member states or the EU to deal with immigration-related issues.
EESC goes to Belfast to listen to concerns over #Brexit19/02/2019 14:10:00
The EESC, the EU house of organised civil society, represented by its Diversity Europe Group, met at Queen's University in Belfast on 15 February 2019 to take stock of the Brexit process and focus on its consequences for the Northern Ireland peace process.
European Coordinated Plan on Artificial Intelligence19/02/2019 12:25:00
The Council has adopted conclusions on the Coordinated Plan on the development and use of Artificial Intelligence Made in Europe.
EC welcomes first-ever EU standards to reduce pollution from trucks19/02/2019 11:37:00
The European Parliament and the Council have reached provisional agreement on a Regulation setting, for the first time in the EU, strict CO2 emission standards for trucks.
EU and global securities regulators welcome agreement on data transfer19/02/2019 09:25:00
The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) welcome the Opinion of the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) on their administrative arrangement for the transfer of personal data between European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Supervisory Authorities and non-EEA Financial Supervisory Authorities.