Bridge Over Troubled Waters? The Role of the Internationals in Albania

On October 10 2012 the European Commission adopted its "Enlargement package". One of the countries covered by this package is Albania. The Albania Progress Report takes stock of the progress made over the last twelve months by Albania as a potential candidate. In view of the progress achieved, the 2012 Enlargement Strategy Paper the Commission recommends that the Council should grant Albania the status of a candidate country subject to completion of key measures in the areas of judicial and public administration reform and revision of the parliamentary rules of procedure. Beyond the candidate status the Strategy Paper sets out the way forward for the coming year and defines the successful conduct of Parliamentary elections in 2013 as a pre-condition for any recommendation to open negotiations.

The CLS Report


assesses the effectiveness of international involvement in Albania.

Work on the report started in late 2011. At that time the general perception was that since late 2009 Albania was in a dangerous downward spiral and that the mediation attempts of the international community (the US, the EU, individual EU member states, the OSCE) didn’t deliver any substantial results (except the prevention of further violence.)
The report had to go beyond a critical assessment of international involvement in Albania in the 2009-2011 period and to include the positive developments after the turning point of November 2011 when the ruling majority and the opposition reached agreement to cooperate on an agenda closely linked to the implementation of the twelve key priorities formulated in 2010 by the Commission in its Opinion on Albania’s EU bid.
“Bridge over Troubled Waters? The Role of the Internationals in Albania” was finalized by mid-September 2012. Naturally, the report does not cover either the vote in the Albanian Parliament on the Constitutional amendments restricting the unlimited immunity of high-level public officials and judges or the wording of the Commission’s proposal on granting Albania the candidate status. Without going into details of the 12 key priorities the report presents the benchmarks formulated by the European Commission and supported by the informal Troika EU, US, OSCE as the successful way to help Albania set the agenda for further reforms and making progress on the EU path.
Close cooperation between Albania and the international players should continue beyond the point of upgrading the country from a potential candidate to a candidate. The authors of “Bridge over Troubled Waters? The Role of the Internationals in Albania” hope that the report can contribute to debates on how to design this cooperation in the years ahead.