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TIRANA (Albania), November 10 (SeeNews) – The European Commission issued a formal recommendation that the launch of accession negotiations with Albania should be considered, provided that the country reforms its judiciary, Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said on Wednesday.
“For Albania, we have issued a strictly conditional recommendation to formally open accession negotiations,” Hahn said at the Press Conference on the EU-Enlargement Package 2016.
The recommendation is subject to tangible and credible progress in the implementation of the justice reform, in particular the in-depth re-evaluation of judges and prosecutors.
The Commission’s recommendation is not binding for the Council of the European Union - the institution representing the member states' governments - which must make the decision for the opening of accession talks by voting unanimously.
In 2009 the European Commission recommended the launch of accession talks with Albania's eastern neighbour Macedonia but this has still not happened.
In its 2016 Communication on EU Enlargement Policy the European Commission acknowledged the pivotal constitutional amendments that Albania unanimously adopted in July, launching a thorough and comprehensive reform process of the judicial system.
Also, Hahn noted Albania's solid progress on the five key priorities that were set by the European Commission when it recommended that the country be granted candidate status in 2013.
The five priorities for the opening of accession negotiations consist of public administration reform; strengthening of independence, efficiency, and accountability of judicial system; fight against corruption; protection of human rights, including Roma and anti-discrimination policies, as well as the implementation of property rights.