TIRANA, July 19
Today, Tuesday 19 will go down in the history of Albania’s path towards its membership in the European Union. The EU held the long-awaited first intergovernmental conferences with Albania and North Macedonia, as Skopje, finally solved its dispute with Bulgaria.
The conference follows March’s 2020 decision of the Council of the EU on the opening of negotiations with both countries. However, the process was delayed as Bulgaria refused to approve the EU’s negotiation framework for North Macedonia, thus blocking the official start of accession talks even for Albania. The process moved forward only after North Macedonia and Bulgaria agreed on the French proposal.
Jan Lipavsky, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, the country holding the rotating Council Presidency said that Albania had stood firmly by its neighbor, North Macedonia, in time of need and that today the waiting is over for both of them.
“The people of Albania and North Macedonia deserve it, and we will all stand to gain when one day we welcome Albania and North Macedonia as full-fledged members of our European Union,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during a joint press statement held on Tuesday morning.
However, what does this mean for Albania, and what is expected from the country to become a full-fledged member of the EU? The process is long, however, it seems that the war in Ukraine, increased the importance of the Western Balkans to the EU.
At first, the initial stage of the accession negotiations requires screening of the EU acquis. European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelhy stated that the screening procedure will assess the alignment of the legal systems of both countries with the EU law. The main tasks for Albania are related to the rule, of law, the justice system, the fight against corruption, etc. Other details will follow.
Source: Council of the EU
Photo Credit: Europan Union in Albania