European Western Balkans

EC: Albania has gained time in EU integration process

EU - Albania flags; Photo: Pixabay

BRUSSELS – “Albania has already done a lot of work and has gained time for the future,” the European Commission said on Albania’s EU integration reform agenda on Tuesday.

In the enlargement strategy for Western Balkans presented in Strasbourg a day ago, the European Commission made clear that Albania has a real and immediate prospect of moving forward to opening accession negotiations.

The strategy also underlines that “Albania did a very smart thing: it frontloaded major parts of Chapters 23 and 24 through a very comprehensive Justice Reform.”

According to EC, Albania has gained time for the future by advancing the EU integration process, even drawing closer to Serbia and Montenegro that remain at the forefront of European integration in the Balkans.

“It means, in simple words, that Albania has already done a lot of work and has gained time for the future, so if it keeps the same focus and speed will be able to quickly catch up the other negotiating countries once the negotiations start,” EU Ambassador to Albania, Romana Vlahutin told a press conference, repeating the EC message for Albania.

Likewise, as EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn, “the process does not put any artificial speed limits on countries progress: more reforms you implement, sooner you will reach the goal.”

“My concluding message would be let us go back to work even harder, this is a very important spring for Albania, let us look at the new instruments and opportunities they provide and make best use of it, and finally let’s work all together to make the everyday life of every Albanian citizen safer, better and more prosperous. All this is doable; it requires always more commitment, more dedication and allow me to say, even more love,” EU Ambassador in Tirana, Romana Vlahutin, said in a press conference following the publication of the EC strategy for six Western Balkan countries.

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