International Conference: A new chapter for Albania's Integration in a changing EU

Author: megi / Date: 02-03-2015 /

International Conference "A new chapter for Albania's Integration in a changing EU: Challenges after the candidate status and enlargement policy under the Italian presidency"

The granting of candidate status to Albania in late June of 2014, was a positive signal about the EU enlargement policy towards the Western Balkans after Croatia's entry into the Union last year. After a difficult journey, Albania joined a group of candidate countries who share no more than this status, since they are in very different stages of integration. June thus marked an opportunity for reflection of what is expected to happen with European integration not only in Albania, but also in the other candidate countries. Despite the internal dynamics within the EU and the declarations that no further enlargement of the Union is to be expected soon, these new developments are testimony of the constant commitment of both the countries of the Western Balkans and the EU itself to bring the process forward.

The next expected step for Albania, which will reserve enough difficulties, are the opening of negotiations. While the executive works to address the five priorities of the European Commission roadmap has started, major challenges at the policy level but also at the societal level remain the main difficulty. Following the candidate status of Albania during the Greek presidency, another interesting presidency of yet another neighbouring country begins: Italy, convincingly articulated in favour of Albania's progress towards the EU.

Given this new context created by the emerging dynamics of integration, AIIS gathered policy makers and technical experts from the country and the region and aimed to anticipate challenges and future developments of integration through a discussion of researchers and decision-makers. The international conference was held on September 30, 2014 during the Italian presidency and was organized in collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Office in Tirana. High level officials from Albania and the region, researchers and technical officials dealing with European integration were invited to share their country's experience with the European integration process. The overarching themes of the conference were: 

  1. Albania status to negotiations: what does the future hold?
  2. Beyond technicalities: civil society and the importance of an inclusive process
  3. Integration perspective for the Western Balkans: the Regatta principle, the Croatian example
  4. A Union in motion: the election, the crisis and the new context of EU enlargement
  5. The Italian presidency of the EU: the importance of integration against other priorities