For current reports go to EASY
Books on Albania
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
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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