Skip to main content

Deja Vu?

Another day, another report again. This time it is the European Commission's much leaked Enlargement Strategy and Progress Reports 2006. As usual with the EU it's a lengthy piece of work, but the key sections for Albania can be found in two places.

The Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2006-2007 contains, among much else, the conclusions regarding candidate countries. Those concerning Albania can be found on pp 22-26.

The Progress Report on Albania on which the conclusions are based runs to 47 pages and covers political and economic matters and Albania's capacity to meet a range of European standards.

In an accompanying press release the Commission presents its key findings for each country. These are the key finding for Albania:


Albania signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU on 12 June 2006. Signing this agreement represented an important step forward on Albania's EU path. Albania now faces the challenge of successfully implementing its SAA, starting with the trade-related provisions contained in the interim agreement, which enters into force on 1 December 2006.

Political criteria

Albania has made progress in several key areas. It has shown determination in fighting corruption. It has adopted a plan to fulfil European Partnership and SAA obligations and set up new structures to implement it. Albania has continued to contribute to stability in the region.

However, further progress is needed on co-operation between government and opposition to enable key reforms. Administrative capacity needs to be rebuilt following major staff changes and ministerial restructuring. Albania needs to make additional progress on political and judicial reform and human rights, as well as the fight against corruption and organised crime. The legal framework for media freedom needs to be improved and properly implemented.

Economic criteria

Albania has made progress towards being a functioning market economy. It has maintained macroeconomic stability, strong economic growth and low inflation. Fiscal consolidation has further advanced. Administrative barriers to market entry have been reduced.

Further reform is needed to enable Albania to cope with competitive pressures. External imbalances widened and exports remained very weak. Albania needs to address shortcomings in the business climate, especially poor infrastructure, to encourage economic development. Substantial work is needed to formalise the large grey economy.

European standards

Albania has made some progress on putting in place the structures and laws needed to meet European standards. Progress has been made in the fields of fighting organised crime and improving the administration of customs, competition, standardisation and statistics.

Pushing forward reform in areas such as public procurement, intellectual property, information society and media, SME policy, agriculture, fisheries and veterinary and phytosanitary control will now be important for successful SAA implementation.

Pre-accession assistance

The EU continues to provide technical and financial assistance. For 2006, €45.5 million pre-accession assistance is available for Albania.

Happy reading.


Popular posts from this blog

50 Ways to Make Some Money

The death of communism in Albania brought a flourishing market economy to life just as it did across Central Europe and Russia. On the streets of Tirana people are buying and selling, trading goods and services in predictable, or sometimes novel, ways. The shops are the most obvious expression of this. The streets are lined with little stores selling almost everything you could want. Freed from the choking grip of state bureaucracy Albanians are now at liberty to buy whatever they can afford. No matter how absurd the demand, someone will create the supply. Hence the preponderance of shoe stores in this city of muddy streets and torn up footpaths. Especially outlandish is the fashion for high heeled white boots - about as impractical a style of footware as could be imagined. Dotted across the city are the market stalls, sometimes just one person selling bananas, elsewhere a whole street lined with sellers of fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and spices. Those who cannot bring thei…

Petrela Castle

This is Petrela Castle near Tirana. The site has been fortified since the 4th century, but the oldest surviving parts are from the 13th century. Today the castle is a restaurant where you can enjoy lunch while taking in the views.

Big in Albania

Ask me how much I knew about Albania before coming here and my list would be a short one: Enver Hoxha, bunkers and Sir Norman Wisdom. I have no idea when or how I acquired this extensive body of knowledge, but the association of Norman Wisdom with Albania was by far the most interesting part of it.I remember watching Norman Wisdom's old films on British television. My parents were fans of his wholesome, slapstick comedy, but apparently missed the ideological significance of Pitkin's relationship with Mr Grimsdale. Pitkin, the downtrodden and oppressed representative of the workers, triumphed every time over his capitalist oppressor, Mr Grimsdale - and he got the girl. It took a theorist of Hoxha's insight and profundity to discern this deeper political message.It always seemed tremendously unlikely, yet the story of Sir Norman's fame in Albania has been reported in worthy sources like the BBC, the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph. According to the Guardian, when Wisdom…