Albania's path to opening negotiations with the EU will remain difficult until the very last moment. In an unofficial document obtained by Ora News, it is suggested the European Council will decide not to open negotiations with Albania and Macedonia at this stage.
Referring to the European Commission's report on the five key priorities, the non-paper draft explains that justice reform is still in the first phase and as such it is impossible to assess the results given that they are yet to be determined.
Also, in regards to public administration, the document predicts that corruption remains dominant in many fields and continues to be a serious problem, further impacted by the punishment of senior officials being extremely limited.
The unofficial document claims that the fight against crime is insufficient due to limited law enforcement resources and weak institutions, and that concrete results in sentencing and seizing assets are rare.
This is also one of the major concerns that the Netherlands has expressed about Albania.
Circulating in the EU member countries, the unofficial document also talks of Europe's need to self-reform, a concern that has recently been firmly supported by France.
Given all these reasons, according to this document, it is expected that Albania will be considered to have not yet met the conditions for opening negotiations.
It is suggested the Council review the European Commission's next report in the spring of 2019 to see if Albania has made real progress across the 5 key priorities.
The same conclusion has been reached for the neighboring state Macedonia, where the main problem is the failure to achieve justice reform, public administration politicization, high corruption and the inability to fight it.