Europe warns deadlocked Albania to put political house in order | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 17.02.2010
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Europe warns deadlocked Albania to put political house in order

Ambassadors have told Albania that its prospective membership of the EU is threatened by a political stalemate that has crippled the country’s parliament. A delegation is set to visit Tirana to help find a solution.

An Albanian and EU flag

The EU wants Albania's main parties to resolve differences

Ambassadors from across Europe have warned Albania that its application to join the EU is in jeopardy unless a damaging political crisis is resolved.

Representatives for EU nations in Tirana met on Wednesday to call on the two main political parties to resolve a crisis that is preventing Albania's parliament from doing its work.

"The EU perspective for Albania is at stake," Spanish ambassador Manuel Montobbio de Balanzo warned both parties.

The country's socialist-led opposition, led by mayor of Tirana Edi Rama, has been boycotting parliament since elections were held last June. Socialist party members and supporters claim there was electoral fraud and are demanding a recount of votes and a parliamentary probe into the elections.

This has so far been ruled out by the country's Prime Minister Sali Berisha, whose conservative party controls 75 of the parliament's 140 seats.

Inability to pass new laws

The boycott means that parliament has been unable to pass new laws and adopt reforms for closer European integration.

A Council of Europe mission is due to visit Albania to discuss the crisis later this week.

On Wednesday Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme backed Tirana's bid to join the European Union. "We think Albania's adhesion to the EU is a key factor for stability in the Balkans," said Leterme, whose country is set to take over the European Union's rotating presidency in July.

Editor: Andreas Illmer

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