Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Albania: Albania likely to apply to join EU at the end of April

Albania will probably apply for joining the EU at the end of April, though Brussels has told Tirana to first hold free and fair elections in June, Minister of Foreign Affairs Lulzim Basha said, as quoted by the Greek Naftemporiki daily.

The papaer comments that Albania's application would follow the accession of teh country to NATO on April 4 at the alliance's 60th anniversary summit.

European Commissioner Olli Rehn has told Albania it should first make sure the quality of its parliamentary elections is above reproach before it takes the next step on its long road to EU membership.

Karel Schwarzenberg, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, which holds the EU Presidency, had initially welcomed an application, but said later it was not the right time because the EU was dealing with many problems that resulted from the financial and economic crisis.

Albania's PM Sali Berisha has been adamant Albania would go on with its application.
Neighbouring Montenegro applied for EU membership in December. Serbia and Bosnia have said they would also apply this year.

Source: FOCUS Information Agency
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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