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European Partnership with Albania

 The European Partnership – an instrument of the Stabilisation and Association Process – is intended to provide additional, tailored support to the Albanian authorities in order to realise Albania’s European perspective. Its aim is to identify priority areas where further efforts and reforms are required, calling in particular for Albania to bring its legislation into line with that of the Community. It also provides a reference framework for financial assistance from Community funds.

ACT

Council Decision 2008/210/EC of 18 February 2008 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the European Partnership with Albania and repealing Decision 2006/54/EC.

SUMMARY

The European Partnership with Albania is the main instrument for assisting the Albanian authorities in realising their country’s European perspective. This was confirmed at the Zagreb summit in 2000 and reinforced by the Thessaloniki summit in 2003.

The European Partnership with Albania is an instrument of the Stabilisation and Association Process. It was introduced for the countries of the Western Balkans concerned under the Thessaloniki agenda (2003), which imparted fresh impetus to the process. The European Partnerships are modelled on the accession partnerships for the candidate countries under the reinforced pre-accession strategy. The Partnerships for the Western Balkans have Regulation (EC) No 533/2004 as their legal basis.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of the European Partnership is to register in a common reference framework:

  • the priority areas for reform; these are identified according to the country’s requirements and involve the adoption and/or implementation of appropriate legislation;
  • financial assistance guidelines for the implementation of these priority areas;
  • the principles and conditions governing implementation of the partnership.

The Council of the European Union adopts the European Partnership, and its subsequent amendments, by a qualified majority on the basis of a proposal from the Commission.

The current Partnership updates and adapts the previous partnership adopted in 2006. European Partnerships are flexible instruments designed to reflect the progress made by the countries concerned and the efforts still required. In this regard, the various priorities identified by the partnerships are defined according to evaluations carried out by the Commission to assess their implementation.

With a view to achieving the objectives identified in the European Partnership, Albania must adopt a national plan setting out procedures and a timetable for implementing the priorities of the Partnership.

Implementation of the Partnership is monitored within the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Process and its mechanisms, in particular the annual report presented by the Commission, which assesses the progress to date and the efforts still to be made.

PRIORITIES

The European Partnership establishes priorities which are both realistic and attainable goals for the country concerned. It distinguishes between short-term priorities, which are expected to be achieved within one to two years, and medium-term priorities, which are expected to be achieved within three to four years.

The main priorities identified for Albania relate to its capacity to meet:

  • the Copenhagen criteria defined in 1993;
  • the conditions set for the Stabilisation and Association Process (Council conclusions of 27 April 1997 and of 21 and 22 June 1999);
  • the 2000 Zagreb declaration; and
  • the Thessaloniki agenda of 2003.

These short- and medium-term priorities can be categorised as follows:

  • the key priorities are short-term priorities. These include strengthening administrative capacity, promoting constructive dialogue between the various stakeholders on the implementation of reforms, increasing the independence and transparency of the justice system, implementing the 2007‑2013 anti‑corruption strategy, implementing the recommendations on elections made by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) [FR], amending the electoral code, strengthening public‑sector governance, pursuing the fight against organised crime and stabililising the position of the state electricity company KESH;
  • political requirements, such as democracy and the rule of law (governance, public administration, the judicial system, anti-corruption policy), human rights and the protection of minorities;
  • economic requirements, which cover implementation of a stability‑oriented fiscal policy and a monetary policy conducive to maintaining price stability, intensification of the fight against the informal economy and fraud, tax reform, establishment of a credit information bureau, improvement of the education system and privatisation;
  • regional issues and international obligations (compliance with the stabilisation and association process commitments, conclusion and implementation of agreements with neighbouring countries, regional dialogue);
  • European standards relating to aspects of the Community acquis, i.e. the internal market (free movement of goods, capital, persons and services, and the right of establishment, customs and taxation, competition, public procurement, intellectual property law, employment and social policy, education and research), sectoral policies (industry and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), agriculture and fisheries, the environment, transport, energy, the information society and media, financial control), and justice, freedom and security (visas, border control, asylum and migration, money laundering, narcotics, police, fighting organised crime and terrorism, protection of personal data). Albania must endeavour to bring its legislation into line with the Community acquis in these areas and ensure its implementation.

The priorities identified in this Partnership will constitute the basis for future evaluations by the Commission.

FINANCIAL FRAMEWORK

Albania receives financial assistance in support of the Stabilisation and Association Process. The instrument for pre-accession aid (IPA) is the basis for this assistance for the period 2007-2013. It replaces the IPAs for the period 2000‑2006, including the CARDS programme for the countries of the Western Balkans, under which a total of EUR 315.5 million was allocated to Albania during the period 2000-2006.

The amount of financial assistance for Albania under the IPA for 2007-2010 is EUR 306.1 million in line with the multiannual indicative financial framework (MIFF) for the period 2008-2010, plus 2007. As stipulated in the MIFF, the indicative multiannual planning document for 2007-2009 for Albania (pdf ) gives a breakdown of financing based on two components of the IPA, viz. "support for transition and institution-building" and "cross-border cooperation", on the basis of which assistance for Albania is determined.

Community assistance is conditional upon recipient countries abiding by the essential elements which govern their relations with the EU, particularly the effective implementation of reforms. Under the European Partnership, Albania is under an obligation to comply with the Copenhagen criteria and the priorities defined by the Partnership.

Albania is also eligible for funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB), principally under the pre-accession mandate. This mandate covers the candidate countries for EU accession and the countries of the Western Balkans. The financing provided by the EIB takes the form of grants and loans.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into force - Date of expiryDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Decision 2008/210/EC22.3.2008-OJ L 80 of 19.3.2008

RELATED ACTS

Commission Communication to the European Parliament and the Council of 5 March 2008: Western Balkans: Enhancing the European Perspective [COM(2008) 127 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Communication of 27 January 2006: The Western Balkans on the road to the EU: consolidating stability and raising prosperity [COM(2006) 27 – Not published in the Official Journal].

BILATERAL RELATIONS

Council Decision 2006/580/EC of 12 June 2006 concerning the signing and conclusion of the Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related matters between the European Community, of the one part, and the Republic of Albania, of the other part [Official Journal L 239 of 1.9.2006].
Interim Agreement on trade and trade-related matters between the European Community, of the one part, and the Republic of Albania, of the other part [Official Journal L 239 of 1.9.2006]

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Council Regulation (EC) No 1085/2006 of 17 July 2006 establishing an Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) [Official Journal L 210 of 31.7.2006].

Instrument for pre-accession assistance, multi-annual indicative financial framework for:

  • 2008-2010 [COM(2006) 672 final – Not published in the Official Journal];
  • 2009-2011 [COM(2007) 689 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Multiannual indicative planning document 2007-2009 for Albania (pdf ).

The reports for previous years are available on the website of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Enlargement.

Last updated: 29.05.2008
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