The European Commission concluded that Albania made steady progress as regards the political criteria, by continuing to implement and consolidate reforms in the rule of law area. In public administration reform, Albania has adopted key legislation and comprehensive reform strategies. In order to be able to open accession negotiations, Albania will need to implement reforms in key priority areas, mainly by finalizing the comprehensive reform of the judicial system.
Further tangible results are necessary in the area of rule of law, including progress with a view to establishing a solid track record of pro-active investigations, prosecutions and final convictions at all levels in the fight against corruption and organized crime. The protection of fundamental rights, including property rights needs to be strengthened.
Albania continued aligning its legislation to the requirements of the EU in a number of areas, enhancing its ability to take on the obligations of membership. The country is moderately prepared or has some elements of preparation in most areas, but is still at an early stage in the areas of freedom of movement for workers, agriculture and rural development, fisheries, justice, freedom and security, science and research, environment and climate change, and consumer and health protection.
Albania will need to make substantial efforts to upgrade its preparations for implementing the EU acquis. Albania should continue work on the development of the transport and energy network within the framework of the regional connectivity agenda. Stepping up the diversification of energy sources and the functioning of the electricity market are vital for economic development. The administrative capacity and professional standards of bodies charged with the implementation of the acquis needs to be strengthened and the independence of regulatory bodies safeguarded. Enhancing transparency and accountability, in particular ensuring the effective, efficient and transparent functioning of the public procurement system and public finance management, remains essential.
In the area of common foreign and security policy, the report notes that Albania aligned itself, when invited, with all relevant EU declarations and European Council conclusions. This trend of full alignment has been consistent for the past four years, demonstrating strong commitment by Albania to support EU stances on issues related to international peace and security.
European Commission, November 2015