Albania and the European Union – No time to depart from the ‘carrot and stick’ approach

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Series Details September 2013
Publication Date September 2013
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Last Sunday, Edi Rama – leader of the Socialist Party – was sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Albania after his party’s alliance won by a landslide (83 seats) against Sali Berisha’s Democratic Party and its coalition partners (57 seats) in June’s parliamentary vote. Rama’s investiture brings to an end the eight-year premiership of his opponent, Berisha, who will serve as a backbencher hereafter under the Democrats’ new chairman – Lulzim Basha. Equally importantly, it marks the peaceful resolution of a bitter and drawn-out political rivalry that has long stalled Albania’s progress on the reform agenda and its path towards the European Union.

The smooth handover of power, in combination with Albania’s recent strides to meet EU conditions, should help to reboot and upgrade the country’s relationship with the Union. To meet its end of the bargain, Brussels should now reciprocate by dovetailing the expected reward of ‘candidate status’ by the end of the year with a better calibrated conditionality for Albania.

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