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Luxembourg, 24 June 2014
EU candidate status for Albania
At the General Affairs Council meeting today in Luxembourg, Ministers from the EU Member States have agreed – based on the recommendation by the European Commission (see report) to grant EU candidate status to Albania, subject to endorsement by EU heads of states at the forthcoming European Council on Friday in Brussels.
Commissioner Štefan Füle welcomed the decision and said the following:
‘Today is a good day for enlargement and a great day for Albania's EU integration. Albania is one step closer to the European Union, another important milestone on EU path has been reached.
I really welcome the decision of the General Affairs Council to grant candidate status to Albania. I look forward this decision being endorsed by Heads of States and Government at the European Council later this week.
Granting of candidate status is a logical consequence of Albania's reform efforts. Our report from the beginning of this month and today's decision of the Ministers is acknowledgement of the EU for the efforts made and the progress achieved on Albania's accession road.
At the same time it should be seen as an encouragement to continue with existing reforms and embarking on new reforms necessary to prepare Albania for the start of the accession negotiations later on.
Let me just recall that over recent months Albania has shown concrete action and continued political will to pursue the process of EU-related reforms. The Albanian government has continued to implement and consolidate reform measures in judicial reform, in the fight against corruption and organized crime. The most recent example is the major police operation in Lazarat last week to destroy the cannabis cultivations in the area.
For Albania to further advance on its EU-integration path, major challenges still lie ahead. Albania will need to continue and consolidate its systematic approach to reforms, address existing shortcomings and tackle remaining EU-related challenges.
To conclude, the granting of candidate status to Albania is a clear testimony that the enlargement process is credible and dynamic, and that the EU sticks to its promises and commitments once the partners deliver on their reform homework.’