EU membership candidate, what does Albania benefit?

EU membership candidate, what does Albania benefit?

IBNA Special Report

Tirana, June 25, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

The EU membership candidate status had been an aspiration of Albania for several years. Only yesterday, after four refusals in a row, the EU gave way to the much anticipated process.

But, what are the expected benefits of the status? The Albanian Minister of Integration says that the benefits are political, financial and social.

Political benefits

As an EU member country, Albania will enjoy more security and will offer its contribution in the European Union.

The candidate status takes relations between Albania and EU to a higher level: Albania will now receive invitations to the meetings of the Council, open for candidate members. Its approach and cooperation with EU agencies will be easier-for example its participation as an observer in the Agency of Basic Human Rights.

Exchanges will grow, thus offering more opportunities for an open society with standards and a variety of models.

Economic-financial benefits

This decision brings important benefits for Albanian citizens. EU’s “stamp” given by the EU Council of Ministers, first of all is an important political guarantee for European and world companies that invest in Albania. As far as the economic perspective is concerned, the candidate status will encourage foreign investments and as a result, will lead to the creation of new jobs.

Albanian citizens will be able to move goods and capital from one EU country to the other without any restrictions or barrier. This will encourage the development of the economy and will facilitate bureaucratic procedures for commercial exchanges.

Consumers will have more choices and will buy cheaper products. With the integration in the EU, Albanian business will be offered extra capacities and better perspectives to compete in a unique market of 500 million consumers, such as the European market. The lifting of fees and barriers will bring a reduction in commercial costs and will reduce the possibility for firms and companies to be in monopoly positions in the market. The quality of consumption products will increase. Control standards that will be applied will be the same as in the EU member countries.

With the integration in the EU, barriers for the transfer of technology will be lifted and this will bring more access in the domain of innovation and production. Better perspectives of employment for Albanians in member countries will be offered. Direct Foreign Investments will increase. The drafting of policies for a better business environment and the efficient functioning of a free market economy in a quiet political atmosphere will stimulate foreign investments in Albania.

Social benefits

Like every other member country that adopts EU policies in economy, society, fight against organized crime, drugs, illegal emigration, Albania too will have a general growth of the standards of living. There will be a health system with European standards. Safety at work will have the same standards as in the other EU countries. Albania will be obliged to show a more rigorous respect toward human rights and freedom of press. Environmental standards will improve.-EU accession will offer premises for sustainable development policies of the country, where environmental elements will be part of the policies of the development of the country.

By adapting EU environmental standards, Albania will be able to protect its environment. Quality in education will increase. European Union has helped potential candidate countries such as Albania in the improvement of the educational system through CARDS program and recently, through TEMPUS. Accession in the EU will allow Albania to take advantage of the other education programs that the EU applies such as Socrates, Leonardo da Vinci and Youth. There will also be bigger potentials for a more efficient exploitation of energy and natural sources.

Gjosha: We will focus on two key reforms in the months to come

Minister of European Integration, Mrs. Klajda Gjosha, says, a day after the decision to grant Albania the EU candidate status, that the government will not stop its efforts for the process of EU integration, keeping up the same pace in all its phases.

Gjosha says that in the months to come, the government will focus in two key reforms: What’s more important in the months to come will be the two main reforms, the territorial reform and reform in the justice system, the 5 priorities that Albania is yet to fulfill. We’re intensively working to form work groups in order to follow the completion of the 5 priorities in a rigorous way. We’re hoping for them to be finalized in record time”, says the minister.

Mr. Gjosha says that the strengthening of regional cooperation and reduction of migrating numbers are two other important issues for which the Albanian government is engaged to closely work with its partners. /ibna/