European Commission has recommended the conditional opening of the accession talks for Albania as the Commission released the Progress Report on Albania for 2016 on Wednesday.
The Commission recommends that Member States consider opening accession negotiations with Albania. This is, however, strictly subject to credible and tangible progress in the implementation of the judicial reform, in particular the re-evaluation of judges and prosecutors ("vetting").
Presenting the report, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn said that "the prospect of EU membership continues to drive transformation and anchor stability in the countries of Southeast Europe, and a credible enlargement process remains an irreplaceable tool to strengthen these countries and help them carry out political and economic reforms."
"Today we reiterate the EU's continued support for these efforts and call on the governments of the enlargement countries to embrace the necessary reforms more actively and truly make this their political agenda – not because the EU is asking for it, but because it is in the best interest of their citizens, and Europe as a whole."
European Commission recommendations do not mean much unless they are supported by member states. For example, Macedonia has been receiving recommendations to launch the entry talks for the past eight years, however the talks have been blocked by the Council of the EU because of Greece's opposition due to its dispute with Macedonia over its name..
These were the last progress reports to be released in autumn. The next reports will be released in the spring of 2018 and in the future reports will be published in spring.