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Opening accession negotiations with Albania

Statement by Mr Manolis Kefalogiannis, Chair of the European Parliament Delegation to the EU-Albania Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee (SAPC):

On 24 March 2020, the General Affairs Council gave its political approval to open accession negotiations with Albania. I would like to congratulate the Albanian authorities and the Albanian people for this long-awaited and well-deserved decision.

To reach this moment, Albania has consistently delivered essential reforms and shown a true commitment towards EU integration. We are all aware that the path towards full accession is still long and that the country needs to continue delivering on key reforms in order to meet the pre-conditions to open accession talks, in line with the Council conclusions of 25 March 2020. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the determination of Albanian authorities, the opposition forces, the civil society and the support of the Albanian people will contribute to the success of this endeavour.

I would like to underline the key role of the Albanian parliament in driving the accession process forward and to offer the full support and cooperation of the European Parliament to this end. The SAPC will continue to be an essential platform to address the challenges and opportunities ahead and to help to bring together the governing forces and the opposition to adopt the reforms the country needs.

This decision comes at a difficult time, as Albania, as the rest of Europe, is tackling the devastating effects of the COVID-19. The EU stands ready to help Albania and the other Western Balkan countries in addressing this pandemia, by mobilising funds and opening, whenever possible, EU programmes to their participation. But, the decision also comes at a crucial time for the EU enlargement policy, when a new methodology has just been adopted that will make the process more predictable and transparent and just a few weeks ahead of the Zagreb Summit which should give this policy a new impetus.

Failure to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia is a mistake

24 October 2019

In a resolution adopted on Thursday, the European Parliament stresses that both countries meet the requirements to start negotiations.

Parliament expresses deep disappointment over the failure to agree on opening EU accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia at the EU summit on 17-18 October.

MEPs regret the move by France, Denmark and the Netherlands to block the decision and say that Albania and North Macedonia have made considerable efforts over the last few years and meet the EU's criteria to start membership talks.

Praising North Macedonia's efforts to settle difficult bilateral issues with its neighbouring countries, MEPs also welcome recent judiciary reforms in Albania. (...)

The full text of the press release in the below link.

Interparliamentary delegations start establishing their bureaus, 26 September 2019

Delegations are electing their bureaus, each of them consisting of a Chair and two Vice-Chairs.

At the constitutive meetings on Thursday, 26 September, most of 44 interparliamentary delegations of the European Parliament decided on their Chairs and Vice-Chairs. Once the elections have taken place, the names of the new Bureaus' members will be published on the Delegations' website. (Check the respective homepage of each delegation.)

Interparliamentary delegations maintain relations and conduct policy dialogues with parliamentarians in other countries, regions and organisations to promote the EU's core values: liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.

There are 44 standing interparliamentary delegations in this legislative period, the same number as in the last parliamentary term. Most of them have the same structure: they have a Chair and two Vice-Chairs, except for delegations to parliamentary assemblies (such as ACP, Eurolat, Euromed and Euronest), which are led by larger bureaus. Parliament's diversity in terms of geography and gender must be reflected in the composition of the bureau of each delegation; it shall not be permissible to have an all-male or all-female bureau or for both of the vice-chairs to come from the same member state (Rule 223 and Rule 213).