About: Albania

Enlargement 15-07-2021

Political scientists say EU has lost the battle for the Balkans

The EU has lost the battle for the Balkans, where Russia and China are offering bonuses without asking for reforms, geopolitical experts told an online conference organised by EURACTIV.bg this week, proposing increased cooperation and a Balkan common market as the best way forward.
Enlargement 18-05-2021

The EU should resist moves to halt Balkan enlargement

EU enlargement to the Western Balkans has been marked by continued roadblocks and unjustified delays. The region's window of opportunity might close soon, another delay could deal a death blow to the enlargement process altogether and that is why the EU should not ignore Albania’s progress, writes Akri Çipa.
Digital & Media 12-05-2021

Media freedom in the Western Balkans is a geopolitical issue

The decline in media freedom in the Balkans is eroding the European values of democracy and rule of law and creating a climate ripe for disinformation that is cultivating anti-EU and anti-western sentiment across the region, writes Peter Horrocks.
Enlargement 11-05-2021

Albania has voted – will it be a new momentum for its EU path?

Pressed by major challenges such as endemic corruption, brain drain and economic hurdles, Albania needs a strong and stable political establishment that will push for an ambitious reform agenda. The latest elections provide hope, but much work lies ahead, write Tobias Rüttershoff and Teona Lavrelashvili.
Enlargement 26-04-2021

Albania parties at loggerheads after hard-fought election

Albania's opposition claimed victory after a parliamentary election on Sunday (25 April) seen as crucial to the country's dreams of EU membership, but the ruling party said it was too soon to call a result.
Enlargement 11-03-2021

Bring Western Balkans back on the agenda, urge nine EU member states

Nine EU member states have called on the EU’s chief diplomat, Joseph Borrell, to have a strategic discussion on the Western Balkan countries and their prospects when EU foreign ministers meet in April, according to a letter made available to...
Enlargement 05-02-2021

Majority of French still against Balkans’ EU integration

Some 59% of French citizens do not see the prospect of the Western Balkans countries' EU accession in a positive light, a new study has found. But it also revealed increasing mistrust toward the bloc overall.
Enlargement 07-01-2021

EU enlargement in 2021: Moribund or revenant?

In the Western Balkans, where all EU applicant countries (bar Turkey) are located, the year ahead will be dominated by Europe's quest for a vaccine and efforts to restart the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 
Azerbaijan 07-12-2020

Commission welcomes arrival of ‘Caspian gas’ to EU countries

The European Commission welcomed on Friday (4 December) the start of the operations of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the last stretch of the Southern gas corridor, thanks to which gas pumped from the Shah Deniz offshore gas field in Azerbaijan started reaching Italy.
Enlargement 18-11-2020

Bulgaria spells out conditions for unblocking North Macedonia’s EU path

Bulgaria vetoed the decision to open EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia on Tuesday (17 November), a move which indirectly also affects Albania, another Western Balkans candidate which has advanced on its EU path in tandem with Skopje.
Enlargement 06-10-2020

Commission seeks to revive enlargement with new package

The European Commission published its long-awaited enlargement package on Tuesday (6 October) in a fresh attempt to revive the stalled process with promises of more substantial economic assistance in exchange for reforms. The package included country-specific reports on the progress of the six Western Balkans countries and Turkey.
Enlargement 06-10-2020

Activists win battle, not war, against hydropower in the Western Balkans

Green lawmakers have hailed the cancellation of a hydropower plant in Albania but now fear that a forthcoming EU investment package for the wider region will promote small hydropower, which activists blame for destroying ecosystems.
Enlargement 02-06-2020

Várhelyi: EU hopefuls to conform to bloc’s electoral expectations

Parties in Albania need to deliver a 'crucial' agreement on electoral reform, while North Macedonia's vote must leave sufficient time and possibilities for campaigning, the EU's enlargement chief Olivér Várhelyi said on Tuesday (2 June), outlining the priorities for the two EU hopefuls before accession talks can start.
Enlargement 20-05-2020

Enlargement Package postponed until autumn, negotiation framework to go ahead in June

Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi confirmed to EU lawmakers on Tuesday (19 May) that the publication of the European Commission's enlargement package has been postponed until autumn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Enlargement 07-05-2020

Half-truths and double standards in Skopje’s language politics

The President of North Macedonia has no right to state that the country “doesn’t need the EU”  if it has to fulfil Bulgaria's conditionalities regarding the country’s language, because it is doing the same to its own ethnic Albanian citizens, writes Ziadin Sela.
Enlargement 07-05-2020

EU and Western Balkan leaders reaffirm ties in veiled response to China, Russia

EU leaders confirmed their "unequivocal support for the European perspective" to their Western Balkans counterparts during a video-summit on Wednesday (6 May). However, the final declaration doesn't make reference to a tangible time frame for the region's accession to the bloc.
Enlargement 24-03-2020

Balkan hopefuls get green light to start EU talks, conditions still weigh on Tirana

EU ministers on Tuesday (24 March) approved starting membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania, a move hailed as restoring "credibility" after months of damaging delays and bickering.
Enlargement 23-03-2020

EU moves to start membership talks with North Macedonia, Albania

The European Council is set to give the green light this week for starting accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, in a long-awaited move for the Western Balkans after the enlargement process was effectively put on hold last year.
Enlargement 03-03-2020

Albania opposition rallies to stop ‘coup d’état’ over reforms

Thousands of opposition supporters denounced Albania's government at a protest rally on Monday (2 March) in a move likely to deepen a row between the country's president and the socialist administration over judicial reforms sought by the West.
Enlargement 18-02-2020

Donors pledge an ‘overwhelming’ €1.15 billion for Albania quake recovery

International donors on Monday (17 February) pledged €1.15 billion to help Albania recover from a powerful earthquake last year, the EU chief announced, more than double the sum expected by Tirana.
Enlargement 17-02-2020

EU in ‘frank’ talks with Western Balkan nations seeking membership

European Council president Charles Michel on Sunday (16 February) met with leaders of the six Western Balkan nations seeking to join the EU, for 'frank' talks ahead of a key summit in Zagreb in May.
Enlargement 14-02-2020

Mini-Schengen is not a ‘plan B’ for the Western Balkans

The idea of an inclusive regional Schengen and cooperation among the six Western Balkan countries, based on the four freedoms of the European Union, is not a replacement but the best way to prepare for EU accession, writes Edi Rama.
05-02-2020

Commission tries to breathe new life into EU enlargement

The new enlargement rules presented by the Commission on Wednesday (5 February) are supposed to inject credibility, predictability, dynamism and a political steer into the increasingly moribund process. "This is a geostrategic investment," promised Olivér Várhelyi, the Commissioner for enlargement.
Enlargement 05-02-2020

EU set to modify member accession method to placate France

The EU is set to propose ways to modify the accession procedures for countries entering the bloc in a bid to placate France, but Brussels cautioned Tuesday (4 February) that any changes won't be major ones.