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Albania Receives EU Candidate Status, With Conditions

EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele
EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele
BRUSSELS -- The European Commission has recommended that Albania receive conditional EU candidate status.

"[The European Commission] recommends that [the European Council] should grant Albania the status of candidate country subject to key judicial and public administration reform measures being completed and the parliamentary rules of procedures being revised," EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele announced to the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels.

Member states of the European Union will take a final decision on Albania's candidacy in December, provided the reform measures are enacted.

The European Commission also gave a green light for Kosovo to start negotiating a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the European Union, even though five member states do not recognize Pristina.

"As part of today's enlargement package, [the European Commission] has adopted a communication on a feasibility study for a Stabilization and Association Agreement with Kosovo," Fuele said. "This study confirms that the Stabilization and Association Agreement can be concluded between the European Union and Kosovo in a situation where European Union member states maintain different views on status."

The SAA is an instrument aimed to bring future member states closer to the EU and has already been granted to all other countries in the Western Balkans.

The European Commission also faulted Bosnia-Herzegovina, an EU candidate country, for not moving forward with reforms.

"Regrettably, Bosnia-Herzegovina has made limited progress towards meeting the political criteria and achieving more functional, coordinated, and sustainable institutional structures," Fuele said. "It is disappointing that commitments under the high-level dialogue for the accession process have not been fulfilled or timelines met."

With Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels
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