Dutch Government: Opening Accession Negotiations With Albania “Premature”

Dutch Government: Opening Accession Negotiations With Albania “Premature”
Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok

In a letter sent to Dutch Parliament on October 4, Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok has confirmed that the Dutch government thinks it is too early to open EU accession negotiations with Albania.

The Council [of General Affairs] […] concluded on 26 June 2018 that Albania had to implement a concrete path of rule of law reform before the accession negotiations could be opened: the country had to consolidate judicial reforms and achieve tangible results in the fight against corruption and organized crime.

The Cabinet [i.e., the Council of Ministers] welcomes the steps Albania has already taken over the past year in the field of extensive vetting, the establishment of a number of institutions in the field of the rule of law, an increasing number of police operations, and the conviction of two major criminals. But Albania needs to do more to combat corruption and organized crime. The Special Anti-Corruption and Organized Crime Structure (SPAK) should at least be operational first and Albania should show a convincing track record in the fight against organized crime and corruption.

The Cabinet is of the opinion that it is premature to start negotiations now.

However, the letter also states that “Not all Member States have yet definitively determined their position, but a large majority in the Council is in favor of opening accession negotiations with both countries” and that also

the Bundestag approved the German government’s decision to open negotiations with Albania, provided that additional conditions were met. These conditions include the re-functioning of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court as well as the implementation of electoral reforms. In addition, the Bundestag calls for further progress in areas such as organized crime and corruption at all levels before the opening of the first chapters in the accession negotiations with Albania.

The letter did not explicitly state that the Dutch government will veto opening accession negotiations with Albania during the October 17 European Council Summit.

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