European Western Balkans


EWB Archives


The Republic of Albania is one of the Western Balkan countries which was identified as a potential candidate for EU membership during the Thessaloniki European Council summit in June 2003.

It is a unitary parliamentary constitutional Republic with the capital in Tirana, the country’s largest city and main economic and commercial centre, and has a total population of almost 3 million people.

Albania is a member of the United Nations, NATO, WTO, World Bank, Council of Europe, OSCE and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

In 2009, Albania submitted its formal application for the EU membership. In its Opinion on Albania’s application in 2010, the Commission assessed that before the accession negotiations could be formally opened, Albania still had to achieve a necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria and in particular to meet the 12 key priorities identified in the Opinion.

In October 2012, Commission recommended that Albania should be granted EU candidate status, subject to completion of key measures in the areas of judicial and public administration reform and revision of the parliamentary rules of procedures. In June 2014, Albania was granted a candidate status by the EU.

Important dates

1 June 2004 – Council adopts European partnership with Albania

12 June 2006 – Stabilisation and Association Agreement and Interim Agreement is signed

1 January 2007 – IPA funds available to help Albania prepare for membership

1 January 2008 – EU-Albania visa facilitation agreement enters into force

1 April 2009 – Stabilisation and Association Agreement enters into force

1 April 2009 – Albania officially became a NATO member

24 April 2009 – Albania submits its application for EU membership

15 December 2010 – Visa-free regime for Schengen area introduced for all Albanian citizens having a biometric passport

10 October 2012 – European Commission recommends that Albania be granted EU candidate status, subject to completion of key measures in certain areas

12 November 2013 – The EU and Albania hold the first meeting of the High-Level Dialogue on Key Priorities

27 June 2014 – The Council granted the candidate status to Albania in June 2014

18 October 2019 – European Council decides not to open negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania for the 3rd time.

25-26 March 2020 – Council of the European Union and European Council support opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. Commission is tasked with drafting the negotiating framework.

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