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Albania to ask EU to open accession talks soon after June 25 vote

Albania to ask EU to open accession talks soon after June 25 vote Albania's government/All rights reserved.

TIRANA (Albania), May 26 (SeeNews) - Albania, a candidate to join the European Union, will ask the the bloc to open accession talks soon after the June 25 general election, prime minister Edi Rama has said.

The main condition and obstacle had been the implementation of the vetting law and since the country is in the process of introducing it, this would be a really strong argument in favour of the opening of accession talks, Rama said in a statement on Thursday following an informal meeting of the prime ministers of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia in Brussels. The six prime ministers had been invited by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to discuss the EU membership perspectives of their countries.

Rama added he had told Mogherini that "after June 25 she and the European Commission should be prepared that the government and the opposition will unanimously demand the opening of negotiations."

Rama reiterated his commitment and determination to continue to work for Albania's integration into the EU.

"[...] we do not see the European integration as a tourist trip to somewhere. We perceive it as process transforming Albania into an European state, with employment and welfare, a state which deserves to sit on the table of the European family," Edi Rama said.

Rama added he hopes that the talks for Albania's membership will be launched by the end of the year.

Last week, Edi Rama and Lulzim Basha, leader of main opposition Democratic Party (PD), reached a compromise deal, under which the opposition will take part in the general election, organised by a caretaker government, and will come back to parliament in order to vote on the bodies which will vet judges and prosecutors. In exchange, Rama replaced deputy prime minister Niko Peleshi and six ministers from his government with politicians nominated by the opposition.

PD had been boycotting parliament sessions since February, thus blocking the implementation of justice reform. It had also refused to take part in the election, claiming the coalition government led by Edi Rama was unable to organise a free and fair vote.

The adoption of the vetting law is a major requirement of the European Commission as it will help Albania move forward with reform of its judiciary.

In October 2012, the Commission recommended that Albania be granted EU candidate status, subject to completion of key measures in the areas of judicial and public administration reform and revision of the parliamentary rules of procedures.

In June 2014, Albania was awarded candidate status by the EU.

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