Albania and the European Union: How to seize and build on the reform momentum

18 October 2016

Over the past years since it was granted candidate status, Albania has made significant efforts to tackle key domestic reforms and strengthen regional ties. In particular, Albania’s governing and opposition parties succeeded this summer in overcoming their familiar polarisation when they approved by parliamentary consensus a long-awaited package of judicial reforms seen as crucial in the fight against corruption and political influence. The various positive outreach initiatives between the Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and his Serbian counterpart, Aleksander Vučić, as well as the constructive attitude that Albania has adopted in the context of the refugee crisis, serve as further examples of the strong national political momentum and desire to see the country advance on its EU membership path.

While Albania hopes to be in a position now to be able to open accession negotiations by the end of 2016, the EU is likely to first look for the proof of the pudding in the implementation of the recently adopted reforms. How does Albania plan to convince Brussels and the member states to give it the green light for the start of accession talks? What are Albania’s internal and regional priorities for the foreseeable future and where do the main challenges lie ahead? What role should the EU and other international actors play in assisting Albania to continue the transformation process and reach its membership goal?

Ditmir Bushati, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania, addressed these and other issues in this Policy Briefing. The event was moderated by Corina Stratulat, Senior Policy Analyst at the European Policy Centre.