Albania begins with the pre-negotiations screening process

Johannes Hahn and Edi Rama; Photo: European Commission

BRUSSELS – European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn announced the beginning of the screening process as a first step towards opening accession negotiations between Albania and the EU in June 2019.

“Our teams will begin with their jobs immediately in order to guarantee a thorough analysis of the situation”, stated Hahn.

After his meeting with Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama in Brussels, Hahn announced that by establishing a “clear” path that leads to opening accession negotiations between EU and Albania, a big step was made on the Euro-integration path of this Western Balkan country, providing that the speed of the reforms remains satisfactory.

“We are now at the beginning. I will be in Tirana next Tuesday to start preparations. We are talking about a complicated, ambitious and comprehensive work during which we must evaluate all the areas covered by the 35 negotiation chapters”, said Hahn.

He emphasised that, during the screening process, alignment of Albania’s laws with the EU-criteria will be analysed. “This is something every country had to go through before opening negotiation chapters”, explained Hahn.

Albania’s PM Edi Rama said that the process of preparations for the opening of negotiation chapters begins straight away. He estimated that the next 12 months will be “12 months of hard work and preparations for formal negotiations”.

“Support of European Commission and 25 countries which advocated that Albania’s efforts should be recognized is vital for us. It is also important that the countries that were not supportive by the end reach a compromise which would ensure that we would not lose time, and that they would have enough time to tackle their public opinion more rationally”, said Rama.

Commissioner Hahn reminded authorities in Tirana that, apart from the screening process, continuing with judicial reforms and fight against corruption and organised crime remains crucial.

“I asked the Prime Minister to continue his work on lowering the number of unjustified asylum requests that citizens of Albania submit to the EU countries”, Hahn added.

Johannes Hahn called for resuming of negotiations between Albania and Greece on Ionian Sea delimitation and stated that the EU will not accept any new member that has open issues with its neighbours.