EU to Albania: Deepen reforms for entry

The Foreign policy Chief of EU Federica Mogherini has asked Albania to foster its reforms especially to deal with rising corruption and proper enforcement of laws. Mogherini has urged the Balkan country to maintain momentum before the EU member states consider the case towards the end of June.

Albania along with other Balkan countries Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Kosovo also wants to join the EU bloc. Most of these nations were war zones after the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. EU finds Albania suitable for accession because of its apparent measures cleansing of a corrupt judicial system, success in law enforcement, a deal between government and opposition that made the elections possible in addition to its efforts to get over its dispute with Greece.

The accession talks are having the support from both Italy and many other member nations, although any expansion has been resisted by both Germany and France. Member states are also wary of the lack of rule of law in Albania as suggested by growing crime rate, trafficking in drugs and a lack of coordination between the government and opposition. Ever since the fall of communism in the 1990s, there has been discontent due to its system of property titles.

The recent adjusted numbers of World Bank after lowering its predictions for economic growth of Western Balkan nations by IMF have put the economic growth of Albania to 3.6% in 2018 while the GDP will slide more to 3.5% in 2019. The economy in other Western Balkan states will show positive growth. The current states of affairs of Albania are attributed to its completion of two big FDI projects, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline and the Devoll Cascade as no new FDI is slated to come. The country thus needs to go beyond two large FDI projects which have supported its growth. It has to look for avenues like making improvements in its investment infrastructure, factors which spur macroeconomic sustainability and reforming education and energy sectors.

Also, another tailwind for Balkan states is the robust growth seen in EU and favourable international liquidity conditions. Latter can also lead to the unwinding of the quantitative easing program of European Central Bank which will have an upward effect on interest rates across the globe. This will also increase the borrowing rates of Western Balkan states. Thus, the current rate of growth in Albania will take decades for it to match the growth in other European states. Latter is usually seen as a prerequisite for harmonious accession.


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