In this section you will find:
- Milestone of relations between Albania and EU
- Stabilisation and Association process with Albania
- Accession criteria
- EU financial assistance in Albania
- Key EU documents shaping relations between Albania and EU
- EC Progress Reports on Albania
- Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Albania
- European Partnership with Albania
- EMA's analysis for European Integration process
- Key documents of the Albanian government
- Other actors monitoring, analysing, reporting on Albania's European Integration process
- Useful links
Milestone of EU - Albania relations
June 1991 - Establishment of diplomatic relations between Albania and the European Economic Community.
12 October 2011
11 May 1992 - Signature of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement between Albania and the European Economic Community.
5 November 1992 - Entry into force of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement between Albania and the European Economic Community. Albania becomes eligible for the EU PHARE Programme, an important step towards restructuring EU assistance to Albania in key reform areas.
26 February 1996 - The EU adopts a Regional Approach to the countries of South-Eastern Europe.
29 April 1997 - The EU establishes political and economic conditions to be fulfilled by these countries, as the basis for a coherent and transparent policy towards the development of bilateral relations in the field of trade, financial assistance and economic cooperation, as well as of contractual relations.
3 - 4 June 1999 - The Cologne European Council reaffirms the readiness of the European Union to draw the countries of this region closer to the prospect of full integration into its structures. This would be done through a new kind of contractual relationship (later recognised as the Stabilisation and Association Process - SAP) taking into account the individual situations of each country, including progress in regional cooperation, and with a prospect of European Union membership on the basis of the Amsterdam Treaty and fulfilment of the criteria defined at the Copenhagen European Council in June 1993.
10 June 1999 - Adaptation of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe in Cologne. In the founding document, more than 40 partner countries and organisations engaged to strengthen the countries of South Eastern Europe "in their efforts to foster peace, democracy, respect for human rights and economic prosperity in order to achieve stability in the whole region".
1999 - Albania benefits from Autonomous Trade Preferences with the EU.
19 - 20 June 2000 - The Feira European Council states that SAP countries are “potential candidates” for EU membership.
24 November 2000 - The Zagreb Summit officially launches the Stabilization and Association Process (SAP) for five countries of South-Eastern Europe, including Albania. The Summit underlines the connection between the progress in the countries of the region towards democracy, rule of law, regional reconciliation and cooperation on one hand and the prospect of possible accession to the EU on the other hand.
2001 - First year of the implementation of the CARDS Programme, applied to all the countries part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
2001- The Commission recommends the undertaking of negotiations on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Albania.
June 2001 - The Göteborg European Council invites the Commission to present draft negotiating directives for the negotiation of the SAA with Albania.
October 2002 - Adoption of the negotiating directives for the negotiation of the SAA with Albania.
31 January 2003 - President of EU Commission, Mr. Romano Prodi officially launches the negotiations for the SAA between EU and Albania.
21 June 2003 - The Thessaloniki Summit confirms the EU perspective of the Western Balkan countries well as the SAP as the policy framework of their EU course.
May 2004 - The European Council launches the TAIEX Programme for legislation harmonization by countries involved in the Stabilization and Association process.
June 2004 - The Council decision on a first European Partnership for Albania.
14 April 2005 - Signature of the Readmission Agreement between Albania and European Community.
January 2006 - The Council decision on a revised European Partnership for Albania.
1 May 2006 - Entry into force of the Readmission Agreement between Albania and European Community.
12 June 2006 - Signature of the SAA between the European Communities and its Member States, of the one part, and Albania, on the other one.
1 December 2006 - Entry into force of the Interim Agreement between Albania and the European Community.
January 2007 - Entry into force of the new instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).
1 January 2008 - Entry into force of the Visa Facilitation Agreement between Albania and the EU.
18 February 2008 - The Council decision on a revised European partnership for Albania.
3 June 2008 - The European Commission (EC) presents the Roadmap towards visa - free regime setting 42 benchmarks to the Albanian authorities on the measures needed to be taken in order to grant visa free travel to its citizens.
1 April 2009 - Entry into force of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA).
28 April 2009 - The Albanian government submits its application for the EU Membership.
27 May 2010 - The EC adopts a proposal to enable citizens of Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina to travel to Schengen countries without needing a short term visa.
8 November 2010 - Endorsement by the Council of the decision to grant visa liberalisation to Albanian citizens.
9 November 2010 - The EC delivers its Opinion on Albania's Application for EU Membership, neither granting candidate status, nor proposing to open negotiations. The Opinion set out 12 key priorities to be addressed by Albania in order to mark progress in its European path.
10 June 2011 - The Albanian Government adopts the Action Plan addressing the 12 key priorities of the EC Opinion regarding the proper functioning of Parliament, strengthening the rule of law, accomplishment of the public administration reforms, fighting corruption and against organized crime, strengthening property rights, reinforcing the protection of human rights and improving the treatment of the detainees.
- The EC launches the Progress Report on Albania 2011, concluded that conditions for opening of accession negotiations have not yet been met.
10 October 2012 -
The EC launches the Progress Report on Albania 2012, recommending that Albania be granted a conditioned EU candidate status.
12 December 2012 - The European Council welcomed the overall progress made by Albania to meet the 12 key priorities laid out in the Commission’s 2010 opinion. However, it will only grant Tirana candidate status once the EU executive reports that the necessary progress has been achieved in the areas of judicial and public administration reforms and revision of the parliamentary rules of procedure. “The successful conduct of parliamentary elections in 2013 will be a crucial test for the smooth functioning of the country’s democratic institutions,” the ministers noted.
Stabilisation and Association process with Albania
The Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) is the basic framework for the relations between Albania and EU. This process, which aims to contribute to political and economic stability in the region. It was launched in 1999 as a new approach of the European Union to the region of Western Balkans. For the first time, the new approach included the EU perspective of the countries of the Western Balkans. SAP has three aims:
- Stabilizing the countries of the region and supporting them to make the shift to a market economy
- Promoting regional cooperation
- Future perspective of EU membership
All the countries of the region that aspire EU membership need to fulfill their commitments in the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) and the Copenhagen Criteria of 1993.
The official starting point of applying for EU membership is the endorsement of the application by an aspirant country to the Presidency of European Union. The European Commission provides a formal Opinion (Avis) on the applicant country, recommending or not to grant the candidate status and open negotiations. Once the Council unanimously agrees a negotiating mandate, negotiations may be formally opened between the candidate and all the Member States. But, before negotiations start the applicant country must meet the EU accession criteria.
The so-called "Copenhagen criteria
", set out in December 1993 by the European Council in Copenhagen, require a candidate country to have:
- stable institutions that guarantee democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities;
- a functioning market economy, as well as the ability to cope with the pressure of competition and the market forces at work inside the Union;
- the ability to assume the obligations of membership, in particular adherence to the objectives of political, economic and monetary union.
In the Copenhagen criteria, the Madrid European Council,
held on December 1995, added a fourth criteria requiring the candidate country to put EU rules and procedures into effect through the adjustment of its administrative structures. The importance of establishment of appropriate administrative and judicial structures is a precondition for the effective implementation of EU legislation.