Ninth meeting of the Stabilisation and Association Council between Albania and the EU held in Brussels

The Stabilisation and Association Council between Albania and the European Union held its ninth meeting on 15 November 2017. 

The SA Council noted that the Commission Report 2016 recognized the country's progress towards meeting the political criteria for membership and overall steady progress in the five key priorities for opening accession negotiations. The Council also noted that the 2016 Communication by the Commission on the EU Enlargement Strategy, based on the progress in meeting key priorities and on the implementation of judicial reform and the vetting in particular, recommended to open accession negotiations with Albania. From this moment on, Albania has made further significant progress. 

The SAC noted Albania's ongoing commitment to the reform agenda. On that occasion, it stressed that, together with other key priorities, judicial reform remains crucial to Albania's European integration process and can have a transformative effect on other reforms as well.

In this context, the SAC congratulated the creation of responsible institutions for the Vetting in June 2017 and stressed that this important success constitutes a step forward in the implementation of the justice reform. The SAC also welcomed the deployment of observers of the International Monitoring Operation, whose work is led by the European Commission. The EU also welcomed the steps Albania has taken in the fight against corruption and organized crime, particularly the positive results achieved in the fight against cannabis cultivation. In addition, the SAC assessed positively the steps taken in human rights issues, including the adoption of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

The SA Council confirmed that Albania maintained an overall sustained pace in the implementation of public administration reform measures. It welcomed in particular the consolidation of measures aimed at strengthening transparency and meritocracy in the Civil Service and improving the effectiveness of public service delivery.

SAC recognized the role of Albania in the region as a pro-active and constructive partner. SA council praised Albania's continuous participation in regional initiatives and structures in Southeast Europe and its good neighborly relations and constructive attitudes in the region as well. The EU reiterated that good neighborly relations and stability in the region are essential elements of the Stabilization and Association process.

The SA Council welcomed the full alignment of Albania to Council decisions and common Foreign and Security Policy.

The meeting was chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini. The Albanian delegation was led by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Ditmir Bushati. Director General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations, Christian Danielsson, represented the European Commission.

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