The President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, announced he may recommend the opening of EU accession talks with Albania to the EU Council, media reported. The declaration came at a press conference on Dec 5 with Albania’s PM Edi Rama. Juncker specified the EC is impressed with Albania’s advance in reforms and in case the progress is consolidated in the next six months, negotiations on EU membership are very likely to be opened. He added though that the decision will entirely depend on the reform progress and the country’s direction in the upcoming half an year. We think the EC will follow most closely the judiciary reform implementation, as well as the results from the already started vetting process, checking the political independence of judges and prosecutors.
PM Rama declared at the meeting that the EU should launch negotiation talks with Western Balkan countries as soon as possible to prevent risks from Russia, China or radical Islam influence in them. HE highlighted that the region has advanced in its cooperation and reconciliation after long years of conflicts in large part due to EU guidance and requirements. He warned that if the EU membership prospects turn illusionary the progress will fade as well, though.