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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 6,124 4,695 4,100 109
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,740 1,380 1,340 120
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Albania

Update No: 158 - (27/07/10)

Into the EU
The Albanians are desperate to assert their European identity. They cooperated with NATO ten years ago in the Kosovo War, which has led to de facto Kosovar independence, although they are yet to be formally part of the organisation.

The next important Western institution to deal with is the European Union (EU). Albania is not expected to join the EU until 2015 at the earliest. It formally applied for membership on 28 April 2009.

The European Commission says it is not yet ready to recommend visa-free travel to the EU for Albanians, largely because of delays in introducing biometric passports and weaknesses in border controls.

In December 2009 EU governments said strengthening the rule of law and combating organised crime and corruption remained "urgent challenges" for Albania.

The EU and Albania concluded a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), seen as the first step towards membership, in June 2006. The negotiations took three-and-a-half years - three times longer than they took in Croatia's and Macedonia's case.

This is because the EU thought Albania was moving too slowly in the fight against corruption and organised crime. The EU also has doubts about Albania's energy sector, which suffers unstable supplies.



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