“Albania has already made progress in meeting the conditions required before the first Intergovernmental Conference”.
In an interview with DW, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Varhelyi presented the content of the framework for the start of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.
Last week, the European Commission presented to the European Council the draft framework for EU accession negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia.
“The presentation of the draft negotiating framework for Albania and North Macedonia to the EU Council marks an important step in the path of Albania and North Macedonia towards the European Union. Our proposals are based on the revised expansion methodology, which we presented in February, to make the admission process more reliable, more dynamic, more predictable and with a stronger political orientation. I look forward to discussions with Member States and the organization of the first Intergovernmental Conferences with the two countries as soon as possible. Their future clearly lies within the European Union and I am convinced that they will continue to implement reforms on their path to the EU, in the way they have done so far”.
According to Varhelyi, “each negotiating framework sets out guidelines and principles for EU accession negotiations for each candidate country and is divided into three parts: the first part includes the guidelines, the basic principles of EU accession negotiations; the second part includes the substance of the EU acquis; in the third part, there is the negotiation process. The aim of the negotiations is for Albania and North Macedonia to adopt the EU acquis in its entirety, to fully implement it and to strengthen its implementation during the EU accession process.
“The negotiation plans are based on the experience of previous EU enlargements and the current accession negotiations. They incorporate the revised expansion methodology, take into account the evolution of the community acquis and properly reflect the advantages of the countries themselves and their specific situations”, he said.
Várhelyi explained that the negotiation framework for the two countries was similar, but they take into account the specific situations of each of the two countries.
With regard to the revised enlargement methodology, Commissioner Várhelyi stated that, “the revised methodology aims to make the enlargement process more reliable, with a stronger political orientation, more dynamic and predictable.
Asked if Albania was on the right track, Várhelyi said that “in general, and despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 boom, Albania has continued to demonstrate its commitment and achieve tangible and sustainable results in key areas, as outlined by the Council of General Affairs of the European Council, March 2020”.
“In particular, Albania has already made progress in fulfilling the conditions that must be met before the first Intergovernmental Conference. The latest achievement was the inter-party agreement on electoral reform, with the participation of all political parties, inside and outside parliament. This shows commitment, it also proves that Albania is yielding results even in the most difficult times. We are convinced that Albania will continue to successfully implement the necessary reforms. No date has yet been set for the First Intergovernmental Conference, which should be convened as soon as possible after the approval of the negotiating framework by the European Council”, he said.
“It is very important, essentially, that Albania rely on the latest achievements and continue to promote reforms in the areas of the rule of law, justice, the fight against corruption and organized crime. The commission will continue to monitor and support the Albanian authorities in their efforts, “said Commissioner Várhelyi. /ibna