Skip to main content

Home/ European Union/ Group items tagged albania

Rss Feed Group items tagged

Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

29.04.09: Albania files EU membership application - 0 views

  • Albania formally applied to join the European Union yesterday (28 April), embarking on a lengthy path toward membership of the bloc, which is still digesting past enlargements and finds itself engulfed by economic crisis at present.
  • Background: Applications for EU membership are usually filed in coordination between the applicant country and the European Commission. Besides Albania, the only countries in the Western Balkans who have yet to file membership applications are Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Kosovo, which declared independence in February 2008, is a special case, as it has not been recognised by all EU countries.  Last December, Montenegro surprisingly filed a formal application for EU membership during the final days of the French EU Presidency, despite the fact that the subsequent Czech Presidency is more supportive of the Balkan country's accession bid (EurActiv 16/12/08). Montenegro's move was widely expected to encourage Serbia and Albania to follow suit by formally applying for EU membership too.  Taking advantage of the pro-enlargement Czech EU Presidency, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha announced last month that his country would present its European Union membership application before the end of June (EurActiv 10/03/09).  In an exclusive interview with EurActiv, Erhard Busek, special enlargement adviser to the Czech EU Presidency, recently confirmed that Tirana was preparing to file its application (EurActiv 17/04/09).  Albania is one of Europe's poorest countries, and faces an uphill struggle to join the EU. Brussels remains unconvinced of the West Balkan country's democratic credentials. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.11.10: Albania and Bosnia to get visa-free travel before Christmas - 0 views

  • EU interior ministers are on Monday (8 November) expected to lift visa requirements for Albanian and Bosnian citizens despite limited progress in terms of democracy, the fight against organised crime and corruption in the two countries.
  • To Bosnians and Albanians, the news is sweet after they were left behind last year when Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro got on the visa-free list. Kosovo, on the other hand, has little prospect of catching up as it is not even recognised by all EU member states. On the EU side, some capitals are unhappy about the developments. The Netherlands is opposing the move, saying there has been too little progress in terms of democratisation, organised crime and corruption in Albania and Bosnia and pointing to the political chaos in both countries. France is also reluctant, fearing a massive influx of migrants. The EU commission has given reassurances that Tirana and Sarajevo will make it clear that visa-free travel is not a ticket to asylum or residence in the EU after problems with Macedonian asylum seekers last year. But even if France or the Netherlands votes No or abstain on Monday, the decision will be adopted by qualified majority. The commission itself shares Dutch concerns. In the 2010 accession progress reports on the two countries, to be published on Tuesday and seen by EUobserver, neither Albania nor Bosnia win much praise. "Bosnia and Herzegovina has made limited progress in addressing key reforms. Incompatibilities between the Bosnian constitution and the EU convention on human rights were not removed, despite the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights," the document says. It also criticises Bosnia for lacking "a shared vision by the leaders on the overall direction of the country and on key EU-related reforms." On Albania, it says the political stalemate after 2009 elections is the biggest obstacle to progress. It adds that Albania has made too little headway to be granted the status of EU candidate country, for which it applied in 2009. "Activities of organised crime groups in Albania, having impact outside of the country, remain an issue of serious concern. Further strenghtening of co-operation at the international level is necessary, including in particular with neighbouring countries," it says.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

2,280 questions asked about Albania's EU readiness - 0 views

  • Albania on Wednesday (16 December) took another step towards EU membership when the European Commission sent Tirana a voluminous questionnaire about its readiness to join the bloc.
  • Helmuth Lohan, head of the EU mission in Tirana, handed the questionnaire – a 384-page document with 2,280 questions – to Prime Minister Sali Berisha, the EU Delegation in Albania announced on its website. 
  • "The questionnaire attaches particular importance to the 'Copenhagen political criteria' for EU accession. Good governance, the rule of law, judiciary reform, the fight against corruption, media freedom – these are all key issues which will form the core of our assessment," read a statement from the EU delegation. 
  • ...1 more annotation...
  • Although Albania has changed enormously since the Communist period, when it was a unique case of autarchy vis-à-vis not only the West, but also the rest of the Communist bloc except China, it still remains a poor country. A recently published Eurostat survey puts Albania at the very bottom in Europe in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per inhabitant, expressed in purchasing power standards.  With an EU-27 average of 100, Albania comes last with 26% of this indicator. Another candidate country, Croatia, stands much higher with 63%, a rate similar to that of EU member Hungary, at 64%. Turkey stands at 46%, which is higher that the rate of EU member Bulgaria (41%).  Iceland, the Nordic EU hopeful, stands above the EU average, at 121% - higher than Sweden, which has 120%. The highest wealth per habitant is registered in Luxembourg, with 276%, followed by Ireland, a long way behind with 135%. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.11.08: Western Balkans still way off EU entry criteria - 0 views

  • EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn made clear yesterday (5 November) that Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Kosovo, are still a long way away from getting clear persprectives of EU accession.
  • In spite of the EU executive's insistence that its assessments are based on objective criteria, the countries in the region are increasingly aware that enlargement is no longer fashionable in the EU, especially in the context of the current financial crisis and uncertainty following the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by Ireland.  European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering said on Tuesday that "perhaps with the exception of Croatia," no enlargement was possible without the Lisbon Treaty. This statement contradicts strong views, expressed repeatedly by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, that no enlargement whatsoever was possible before the Lisbon Treaty comes into force (EurActiv 20/06/08). In fact, the Nice Treaty provides institutional arrangements for only 27 member states, but some countries believe that it may be possible to find a compromise to accommodate Croatia. 
  • Links European Union European Commission: Enlargement strategy and main challenges 2008-2009 European Commission: Key findings of the progress reports on the candidate countries: Croatia, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: European Commission: Key findings of the progress reports on Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo European Commission: 2009 the year of the Western Balkans European Commission: Croatia 2008 Progress report European Commission: The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 2008 Progress report European Commission: Albania 2008 Progress report European Commission: Bosnia and Herzegovina 2008 Progress report European Commission: Montenegro 2008 Progress report European Commission: Serbia 2008 Progress report European Commission: Kosovo (under UNSR 1244/99) 2008 Progress report
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

12.11.09: EU greenlights start of Albania accession talks - 0 views

  • EU countries have agreed to proceed with Albania's application for membership of the European Union, a first step in a long process towards possible membership of the bloc, EU diplomats said.
  • Background: Albania applied for EU membership in April 2009. In July, the EU Council stated that it would return to the country's application once the Albanian election procedure had been completed. Ever since the June national elections, the two main players, the governing Democratic Party of Prime Minister Sali Berisha and the Socialist party and main challenger Edi Rama have kept on accusing each other of fraud (EurActiv 30/06/09).  In its latest report on Albania, the European Commission stressed that Tirana needs to make progress, particularly on the rule of law and the fight against corruption, as well as the proper functioning of state institutions ( EurActiv 15/10/09). 
  • Ambassadors from the 27 EU states decided at a meeting in Brussels to ask the European Commission to prepare an assessment of Albania's readiness to start membership talks, the diplomats said.  The decision is expected to be formally approved by EU foreign ministers at a meeting in Brussels on 16 and 17 November. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

11.03.09: Albania to formally apply for EU membership - 0 views

  • Taking advantage of the pro-enlargement Czech EU Presidency, Albania will present its European Union membership application before the end of June, the country's prime minister, Sali Berisha, announced on Sunday (8 March).
  • Berisha's decision to file an EU membership application is seen in Brussels as a pre-electoral trick. Albania's political class also hopes to benefit from NATO opening its doors to the former communist country at the alliance's summit on 3-4 April. Croatia is expected to join NATO at the same time. 
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

Delegation of the European Commission to the Republic of Albania - 0 views

    The Delegation of the European Commission in the Republic of Albania is a permanent diplomatic mission, which represents the European Commission, - the executive body of the European Union - in the framework of the implementation of the European Community's external relations. The Delegation was established in 1993, when the European Commission decided to upgrade its Office of the Special Envoy to a full Delegation in the light of the positive democratic development, which had took place.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

16.04.10: Albania pushes for EU talks despite political deadlock at home - 0 views

  • In an interview with WAZ before meeting Mr Berisha, Mr Füle made it clear that the country needs to improve the functioning of its political system.He suggested that the commission might have additional questions once it studies the current answers. "There are issues- and one particular - that makes the whole process more difficult and it is the stability of political institutions in Albania," Mr Fule said."I visited recently Albania and expressed deep concerns about the parliament still not being able to play fully its role." The centerpiece of the commission's opinion will be Albania's compliance with the so-called Copenhagen criteria, which make a country eligible to join the EU. These criteria include having institutions to preserve democratic governance and human rights, a functioning market economy, and readiness to meet the obligations of EU membership. Member states, which have the final say on the issue, differ on the Albania's readiness.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

03.04.08: NATO to enlarge to two Balkan countries - 0 views

  • NATO leaders gathered in Bucharest on Wednesday (2 April) agreed to admit two Balkan countries – Croatia and Albania – to the organisation, but an unsolved dispute between Skopje and Athens has delayed Macedonia's invitation.
  • Croatia and Albania also link NATO membership to their EU integration. "Membership in NATO will be a stimulus to our partners on the other side of the table to accept Croatia as a full member of the European Union", Croatian premier Ivo Sanader was quoted as saying by daily Javno on Thursday (3 April). For his part, Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha told the Associated Press that joining NATO would represent for his country "the most important development since independence."
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

06.05.08: Albania told to implement reforms before winning closer EU ties - 0 views

  • The EU on Monday (5 May) said it was too early to set a date for the next step in Albania's EU integration process, demanding instead that promised reforms be implemented first.

    "I do not think that we can take a precise engagement at this stage," said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, referring to the formal step of giving Albania EU candidate status.
  • When the commission is "convinced that the reforms are consolidated, only then we will be in a position to guarantee the next step," he stressed.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

Stabilisation and Association Agreement between the EU and Albania - 0 views

    The Stabilisation and Association Agreement - signed on 12 June 2006 - establishes a comprehensive contractual framework between the EU and Albania. As such, it represents an important step on Albania's path towards the EU.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

15.04.10: Albanian PM pleads case for EU accession in Brussels - 0 views

  • On a visit to Brussels yesterday (14 April), Berisha delivered the answers to an EU questionnaire about the country's readiness to join the European Union (EurActiv 17/12/09).Berisha has been at the centre of Albania's political life for the last twenty years, first as president, then as leader of the opposition and now as prime minister, a position to which he was re-elected in 2009.Speaking at an event in the European Parliament organised by the Robert Schuman Foundation, Berisha pleaded the case for his country's EU accession and provided numerous examples of tough measures to crack down on organised crime and corruption.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

13.11.09: The pace picks up on EU enlargement into the Balkans - 0 views

  • EmailSharePrint Back to Brussels Blog homepage The pace picks up on EU enlargement into the Balkans November 13, 2009 3:59pm Enlargement of the European Union is, almost imperceptibly, moving forward once more.  EU foreign ministers are expected next week to forward Albania’s membership application to the European Commission for an opinion.  This is a necessary technical step on the path to entry - small, but important. The Commission is already preparing opinions on the applications of Iceland and Montenegro.  The opinions will take quite some time to deliver - longer for Albania and Montenegro than for Iceland - but the machinery is now in motion. There are signs of progress elsewhere, too.  For a long time Serbia’s efforts to draw closer to the EU have been held back by the refusal of the Netherlands to permit implementation of Serbia’s EU stabilisation and association agreement.  The Dutch insist that Serge Brammertz, the chief United Nations war crimes prosecutor, must first of all declare that Serbia is fully complying with its efforts to capture war crimes suspects - principally, Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military commander. Brammertz is due to hand his latest report to the UN Security Council in early December, and the Serbian government appears confident that it will be positive.  That would remove the Dutch veto and allow Serbia to make a formal application for EU membership.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

15.12.08: Albania Govt in "Communist Files" Row - 0 views

  • Albania’s right-wing coalition is expected to back a law on the cleanliness of high administration figures, which has come under harsh criticism by the opposition and interest groups. The draft-law would dismiss from office judges and prosecutors that worked during Albania’s half-a-century-long period of communist rule, led by former Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha. The Albanian opposition has slammed the law as unconstitutional and claims that the government is aiming to get rid of the prosecutors that are investigating high profile corruption cases.
  • Experts argue that the drafting of the law is problematic because according to the Albanian constitution, to dismiss a supreme court judge, a simple majority is not enough, but two-thirds of parliamentary votes.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

18.11.08: Only a third of Croats enthusiastic for EU membership - 0 views

  • Citizens from the western Balkans have mixed feelings regarding their countries' EU future, with Kosovars and Albanians being particularly optimistic, but barely a third of Croats consider EU accession to be "a good thing," a new survey has shown. While those living in Kosovo and Albania back their countries' EU integration almost unanimously (89% and 83% respectively), only 29 percent of Croats think Zagreb's EU membership would be beneficial, while 26 percent say it would be a bad thing, according to a Gallup survey presented in Brussels on Monday (17 November).
  • The Gallup survey also looked into the western Balkan citizens' general perception of their lives, economic situation, relations to the neighbouring countries, or their attitudes towards their respective governments. It also asked respondents about their views on international institutions and organisations – such as the International Crime Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), with which most countries of the region have to fully cooperate in order to be let into the EU. People in the different countries were divided on the issue, with a majority of Albanians (69%) and Kosovars (68%) saying the tribunal was helping reconciliation and strengthening peace in the region. A majority of Macedonians (52%), Croats (53%) and especially Serbs (64%) disagreed however, and thought that not only did the ICTY not serve the interest of the region, but it was simply fuelling past conflicts.
    Only a third of Croats enthusiastic for EU membership
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

01.04.08: Serbia says it remains committed to European perspective - 0 views

  • Despite its steady opposition to the EU's policy on Kosovo, the largest country in the Balkans will continue its move towards EU membership, Serbia's foreign minister Vuc Jeremic told his EU counterparts at their informal meeting in Brdo last weekend (28-29 March).
  • Much will depend on the forthcoming elections in Serbia on 11 May, he added, describing them as "a critical battle for the European souls of the Western Balkans". 
  • Underlining his country's EU commitment, Jeremic said that the Serbian government was ready to sign the SAA "immediately" and continue moving forward rapidly. This step, in addition to an agreement over a road map for the adoption of a visa-free regime, could help counter Serbian concerns fostered by uncertainty over Kosovo, Jeremic suggested.  The Netherlands and Belgium remain opposed to signing an SAA with Serbia before it hands over the former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic to the court in The Hague.  Jeremic said that "we are very much aware of our obligations to the ICTY," adding that "the only way we'll be able to finish what we started […] is to keep building Serbia's road to Europe".
  • ...1 more annotation...
  • European Union Presidency: EU Foreign Ministers Discuss the Western Balkans (29 March 2008) Presidency: Brdo Presidency Statement: New focus on the Western Balkans (29 March 2008) Commission: Communication on the Western Balkans (5 March 2008) Commission: EU-Serbia relations Commission: Strategy and Progress Reports 2007 Commission: Key findings of the progress reports on Kosovo and the potential candidate countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia (06 November 2007
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

05.03.08: Brussels sees 2008 as decisive for the Balkans - 0 views

  • Brussels has said that this year could be "decisive" for the western Balkan countries and their EU path, if they implement certain reforms.

    If Bosnia and Herzegovina fulfils its political conditions, including the adoption of a state-level political reform, it "should be able to sign" a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) – a first step towards EU membership – in April, EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn reaffirmed when presenting a paper on the western Balkans published by the European Commission on Wednesday (5 March).

    The former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia could get a date for opening EU accession negotiations if it meets "key priorities", including putting in place reforms of the judiciary and the public administration, and implementing a police and anti-corruption law.
  • This year could also be "decisive" for Croatia if it makes "substantial progress" with its judicial and administrative reforms, with the fight against corruption and the restructuring of its ship-building industry.
  • For their part, potential candidates Albania and Montenegro need to build a "convincing track record over the implementation of the SAAs and pursue reforms with determination," while Kosovo must ensure its commitment to a "democratic and multi-ethnic society".
  • ...2 more annotations...
  • The enlargement commissioner also underlined Serbia's "central" role for maintaining stability in the region, and called on Belgrade to "reaffirm its commitment to closer ties with the EU", following recent statements by some Serbian politicians.
  • On Wednesday, commissioner Rehn also presented a series of proposals designed to further contact between citizens of the Balkans and the EU. These include doubling the number of scholarships for students from the Balkans, opening up EU programmes in science and research, education and culture to countries of the region, and aiming for visa-free travel for every country.
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

European Commission - Enlargement - Newsletter - 0 views

  • In this issue Enlargement high on EU agenda for 2008 too Mixed reception for Albanian local elections Turkey's pension reform is "in the right direction" Strategy for civil society in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia EU support for upgrading Albania’s civil registration Helping Bosnia and Herzegovina in communications regulation Serbian wine sector gets EU assistance Discussions start in Vienna on Kosovo settlement proposal Cooperation in south east Europe border security Croatia in media freedom spotlight Student grant database for South-East Europe Positive prospects for Turkey and Western Balkans
  • In this issue > Croatia's progress measured at SAA Council Wallström visits Turkey for Women's Day EU awaits Serbia's new government Kosovo status discussions to move to New York Bosnia and Herzegovina to remain under surveillance Montenegro comes closer to EU EU assistance to Albanian justice system Improving policing of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Hopes of Cyprus breakthrough from a breach in a wall Rehn reminds the EU of its power to act EU foreign affairs ministers extend backing for ICTY "Boost EU commitment to Western Balkans", says paper Stability Pact successor takes shape EU Presidency comments on the ICJ Balkan genocide judgement
  • EU summit backs enlargement strategy European Union leaders gave their full backing to the enlargement strategy at their summit in Brussels on December 14. They looked forward to further rounds of accession negotiations with Turkey and Croatia before the end of the year. They confirmed the EU's vital role in assuring stability in the Western Balkans, and agreed to send an ESDP mission to Kosovo. And they agreed precise terms for the reflection group on the long-term future of Europe. This final issue for 2007 of Enlargement News provides highlights from the European Council, as well an update on other key enlargement-related developments. In this issue Endorsement for the enlargement strategy EU willing to send mission to Kosovo Progress on Turkey's accession negotiations Western Balkans "belong in the EU" Serbia invited to make "rapid progress" to EU Croatia "on track" towards EU membership SAA initialled with Bosnia and Herzegovina Albania makes progress, but governance and rule of law require further efforts The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia must accelerate the pace of reform Montenegro entering "critical phase" Limited remit for Reflection Group EU allocates pre-accession assistance to candidate countries Rehn contrasts past and present of EU foreign and security policy Turkish Students win trip to EU
  • ...1 more annotation...
  • In this issue Bright future for enlargement, says Rehn Presidency highlights enlargement in EP debate New political cooperation agreement with Serbia to be signed EU reaffirms commitments to Kosovo Focusing on local democracy in Croatia Prospects good for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia "No doomsday" for Bosnia and Herzegovina, says Rehn Montenegro signs up to EU research programme Further moves envisaged on Western Balkans visas Rehn underlines momentum in Turkey talks
Prof. Dr  Wolfgang Schumann

22.03.10: EU plays it tough on Western Balkans - 1 views

  • Enlargement Commissioner Štefan Füle deliberately left early from a regional summit in Slovenia this weekend, signalling that the European Commission's patience with the Western Balkans has its limits.
  • On a visit to Albania, Füle used unusually tough language, warning Tirana that a prolonged political stalemate would harm the country's EU accession prospects
  • From Tirana, Füle went to Brdo pri Kranju, a resort in Slovenia, to attend – and make an early departure – from a regional conference on the European future of the Western Balkans. The conference was boycotted by Serbian President Boris Tadić due to the presence of Kosovo Prime Minister Hasim Thaçi. Belgrade had warned it would only attend international conferences where Kosovo is represented under its UNMIK heading, as the country was a UN protectorate before unilaterally declaring independence in February 2008 (EurActiv 08/03/10).
1 - 20 of 44 Next › Last »
Showing 20 items per page