While Albanian authorities have apparently given up the ambition to have the accession intergovernmental negotiations with EU started this year, a senior US diplomat is still hopeful for their start during the German EU Presidency of the Union which ends in December 2020.
So the US envoy for the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer has said that Albania has made enough progress in its EU path to deserve the start of talks in December.
“In our view, Albania has made enough progress to justify the next step, the Intergovernmental Conference,” he has recently told the Voice of America in Albanian. According to him, the US administration would like this to happen before the end of the German presidency of the Council of the EU in 2020.
The current US administration will change after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20 in 2021 succeeding Donald Trump who continues to contest the presidential vote of November 3.
Palmer praised the adoption of the electoral reform, reached after talks with the opposition facilitated by the US and EU embassies in Tirana. He highlighted the need for the Constitutional Court and High Court to be made functional and start working with backlog cases, as well as for the new investigative justice institutions to function at full capacity and show concrete progress.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week that the start of EU talks with Albania in December is unlikely.
For her part the chairwoman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Policy, Mimi Kodheli, a SP MP, stated that Albania is expected to open negotiations with the European Union in early spring next year.
During a TV interview last Friday Kodheli said that Albania has a friendly and neighboring country, such as North Macedonia, along the journey to open these negotiations.
"We have started this journey and we, Albania and North Macedonia, are already in this European package, and I believe that we will continue it, because such is the European strategy regarding the Western Balkans... We need to find the perfect balance so that both countries are absolutely ready and supported by other countries. This will happen and I believe it will happen in the early spring of next year," said Kodheli.
In the meantime it is not known if PM Edi Rama who is in Washington since Friday will discuss this matter with any US official although he declared upon his departure that his trip aimed at trying to secure anti- Covid vaccines in the US. There is no detail even on this issue in the sense who he is going to meet to make possible supply of Albania with vaccines from the US.