Albania on the Road to European integration

Politics - September 10, 2023

Of all the Balkan Countries, Albania is the Nation that Seems to have Made the Most Effort to Accelerate the Process of Moving Closer to Joining the European Union

European integration is a long and complex process involving a few nations wishing to join the European Union (EU) to benefit from the political, economic and social advantages it offers. Among these nations, Albania has recently stood out for its commitment to pursuing the goal of joining the EU and this aspiration not only reflects Albania’s desire to establish stronger relations with European countries, but also represents a crucial step towards stability and prosperity in the Western Balkan region.

Albania, located in the heart of the Balkans, has a rich and unique history and culture. After decades of isolation under the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, the country has embarked on a path of reform and significant change to embrace democratic values, promote human rights and improve governance. Albania’s intent to join the EU was officially announced in 2003 when it applied for membership, and since then the country has made remarkable progress but has also faced several challenges along the way.

One of Albania’s main objectives, by joining the EU, is to ensure greater political and economic stability for the whole country. The accession process requires a series of legislative, economic and institutional reforms aimed at guaranteeing the coherence of laws and regulations with the European model. This helps not only to create a more favourable investment environment, but also to improve the confidence of foreign investors and European companies in the country. Albania has worked to strengthen its legal system, fight corruption and improve transparency, demonstrating its commitment to meeting European standards.

Furthermore, EU membership represents an opportunity for Albania to further develop its infrastructure and economic resources, possibly exploiting the possibility of funding offered by the EU, intended for development and modernization projects that can contribute significantly to the country’s economic growth and increased competitiveness. Albania is already making major investments in the renewable energy, agriculture and tourism sectors in order to fully exploit its potential and stimulate job creation.

However, Albania’s path to EU membership is not without its challenges, one of which is the need to further strengthen the rule of law and the judicial system. The independence and effectiveness of the judiciary are essential to ensure the law and the protection of citizens’ rights, as well as to attract foreign investment. Albania must also continue working to improve its policies on media freedom and human rights, while demonstrating its commitment to EU membership through concrete actions.

Another significant challenge for the ever-growing Balkan country is the relations with neighbouring countries, especially with Serbia and Kosovo and stability in the Western Balkan region is a crucial goal for the EU, therefore, the Albania must play an active role in promoting regional cooperation and the peaceful resolution of disputes. Collaboration with neighbours is essential to address issues such as security, migration and economic development that affect most of other European countries.

The Albanian intentions to join the European Union reflect the desire to build a better future for a people in need of political stability, economic development and strengthening of institutions. Despite the challenges the country still faces, progress so far demonstrates a genuine commitment to meet European standards and contribute to peace and prosperity in the Western Balkan region. The road to EU membership can be difficult, but it is a challenge that Albania seems determined to tackle with effort and ambition. However, there are still a few steps left to allow Albania to finally become a European nation to all intents and purposes.

Alessandro Fiorentino