Tirana, Albania (Tirana Echo) – EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said today in Tirana that Albania is ready to open negotiations on its EU membership bid, providing it maintains and deepens the crucial reforms already underway.
“The European Commission assessment says clearly that Albania has met the conditions that were put in the last report and recommendation that was adopted one year and half ago. Albania is ready to open negotiations, maintaining and deepening the reforms,” said Mogherini.
Mogherini’s statement came after a joint press conference with Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama this morning in Tirana, following the publication of the Enlargement Package where the European Commission recommended opening accession talks with both Albania and Macedonia.
During her stay in Tirana, Mogherini met also with the country’s President Ilir Meta, Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati and representative of political parties, notably those in the opposition benches who have fiercely contested Rama’s socialist rule accusing him of ties to corruption and organized crime.
Referring to the ongoing political conflict and polarization in Albania, Mogherini said that “this day can be a day of collective acknowledgement but also one of collective responsibilities to carry out further work.”
Prime Minister Edi Rama said that the recommendation of the Commission to start accession talks with Albania, paves the way for another new chapter in Albania’s history, that of cleaning up the corrupt justice system of the small Balkan country.
“The cleansing of the current justice system, already underway, must continue with much expected results of the fair punishment of all those who have escaped justice in this country.” – Rama said.
The European Commission has set five key priorities for Albania to prepare for its accession process, reforming the judiciary and the public administration, fighting corruption and organized crime, and protecting human rights.
Its recommendation will be discussed by member states in their upcoming June European Council meeting, where several old members are expected to raise doubts about a further enlargement of the union.
The High Representative’s visit to Albania was the first stop on her trip through the Western Balkans where she will also visit the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
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