Albania and the EU 2014

"Albania always belonged to Europe so it must become a member of the EU"

"The process of joining the European Union is a national objective, in view of the democratization and transformation of the Albanian society, in accordance with the values and principles of the United Europe. Obtaining the candidate status and starting negotiations for EU membership will constitute the priority of political action of the new majority. The correct implementation of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), the fulfillment of the remaining part of the Action Plan’s 12 priorities, are key elements for the quality and pace of Albania's accession process to the EU". Policy paper by the Albanian government.


Dear reader!

A happy new year 2014 to you.

As Albania is working hard to obtain the desired candidate status from the EU it of course is necessary to consider why the recent decision by the EU did not work out as hoped for. 
The Albanian government did its best to persuade the hesitant countries. E.g. Minister of Integration Klajda Gjosha visited Denmark and met with the Danish Minister for European Affairs Nick Hækkerup. She informed him about the progress made by Albania, and Hækkerup said the Danish government supported Albania’s progress towards EU integration.
On October 16. 2013 the European Commission released its annual reports on prospective member states which concluded that the Albanian election was held in an "orderly manner" and that progress had been made in meeting other conditions and as such recommended granting Albania candidate status.
On December 5. 2013 in an MEP meeting it was recommended that "...the Council should acknowledge the progress made by Albania by granting it candidate status without undue delay." However, several states, including Denmark and the Netherlands, remained opposed to granting Albania candidate status and at a December 17. 2013 meeting the Council of the European Union postponed the decision until June 2014.
No doubt the reason for this delay is a fear of massive migration from Eastern Europe and the Balkans but also the wish to see what the new Albanian government will be able to achieve fighting corruption and reforming the judiciary.

Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Štefan Füle participated on December 17. 2013 in the General Affairs Council. This is what he said after the meeting:
"There have been very significant developments in Albania this year, as the Council has duly recognized today: the cross-party consensus that led to the adoption of key measures related to the judiciary, parliament and the public administration; the smooth conduct of the elections in June was also an important step forwards for Albania; and further steps taken in the fight against organized crime and corruption. There was particular praise for the intensified efforts of the new government in the rule of law sphere and new momentum of reform. We have a clear rendez-vous for June, where I fully expect, that as long as Albania maintains its current good work that it will get candidate status. It is now up to Albania – government, opposition and authorities to work together - to build on the impressive achievements to date".

Let´s hope that the Danish government in June 2014 will reconsider the situation and vote for the Albanian candidate status. Albanians always have seen themselves as a part of Western Europe, even in times of Ottoman occupation and under a brutal communist reign, and Albanians think highly about Denmark, as a friend you can rely upon.
The candidate status no doubt will boost the Albanian economy, e.g. the Albanian tourism sector with its great potential, even more than any project based support.

Hans-Georg Nielsen
Honorary Consul of Albania