Albania’s Accession to the EU: A 24-Month Forecast

Albania submitted an application for European Union (EU) membership in 2009 (source). Subsequently, the EU awarded candidate status to Albania in 2014 (source). Albania, along with North Macedonia, began membership talks with the EU in July 2022, despite promises that talks would begin in 2018 (source). A long dispute between Bulgaria and North Macedonia caused delays in the talks (source). The EU had been determined to deal with Albania and North Macedonia’s accession unilaterally. Therefore, Bulgaria’s veto greatly impacted Albania’s membership progress. Bulgaria have since lifted their veto but Albania still faces obstacles.

Key Judgement 1: Tense relations between Greece and Albania over maritime borders and minority communities are likely to delay Tirana’s accession to the EU over the next 24 months.

Key Judgement 2: It is unlikely that Albania will be successful at meeting all of the EU’s criteria over the next 24 months with the fundamental issues being corruption and economic policies.

Key Judgement 3: It is likely that Western countries will display support for Albania’s EU accession over the next 24 months in an effort to provide stability and reduce the influence of Russia in the Balkans.

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