Linkevičius voices support for Albania’s EU membership aspirations
On 6 February, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Albania Ditmir Bushati, who is visiting Lithuania. The Foreign Ministers discussed possibilities for strengthening bilateral cooperation, Albania’s EU membership aspirations, the situation in the Western Balkans, important regional security and cooperation issues.
The head of Lithuania’s diplomacy welcomed the strong commitments of the Government of Albania, as well as the implementation of priority reforms that were seen as a major step in the country’s journey towards EU membership.
“I believe that your efforts and determination will breed positive results. Lithuania supports Albania on its path to European integration,” said Linkevičius. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister also thanked Albania for its contribution to improve the security of the Baltic states – the Albanian contingent participates in the activities of the NATO enhanced forward presence battle group in Latvia.
Since 2014, Albania has been granted EU candidate status. In 2016, the European Commission expressed its readiness to recommend opening accession negotiations with Albania, provided that the country properly implemented priority reforms, including the reform of the judicial system, especially in the fields of the re-evaluation of judges and prosecutors, public administration, the fight against corruption, organized crime, and protection of human rights. Albania expects to be invited to open accession negotiations already this year after the implementation of reforms is assessed.
On 6 February 2018, the European Commission is presenting the Enlargement Strategy, entitled “The Credible Enlargement Perspective for the Western Balkans”. The strategy will include general guidelines for a faster process of integration of all the countries of the Western Balkans.