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Nov 06, 2007 14:38 EEST
November 6 (SeeNews) - EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn on Tuesday urged Albania to do more in fighting corruption and organised crime, two major obstacles on the country's path to the EU.
After signing a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), the gateway to EU accession, Albania has made progress concerning public administration, democracy and the rule of law but “much more should be done in terms of fighting the corruption and the organised crime,” Rehn told a news conference on the progress of the Western Balkans towards the EU held in Brussels.
Rehn said that Albania, like all the other EU-aspiring Balkan countries, has “a broad political consensus on EU accession”. Albania signed the SAA in June last year.
Albania has been widely criticised by international institutions for its failure to efficiently fight corruption, organised crime and illegal trafficking. Corruption watchdog Transparency International has said that last year Albania led the list of countries in the world in terms of the number of bribes sought by police or other officials. Two out of three respondents said they had given at least one bribe in 2006.
Last month Albania's Deputy Transport Minister Nikolin Jaka and six other government officials were arrested on charges of corruption.
Albania will receive 219.9 million euro ($319.82 million) by 2009 under the EU-funded Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) programme. This year the impoverished southeast European country will get 54.3 million euro under IPA.
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