Friday, December 18, 2009

Albania receives EU questionnaire on membership

TIRANA, Albania on Wednesday received a questionnaire from the European Union to test the readiness of the western Balkan country to join the bloc, one month after its membership application was approved by the EU.

Hlemuth Lohan, head of the EU mission in Tirana, handed over the document to Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, saying that replying to the questionnaire is a demanding task which requires strong commitment from the entire public administration.

"I promise that my government will work with great dedication to make sure that answers the European Commission will get will be as true as possible," Berisha said after receiving the document.

He said about 800 government workers will be involved in studying and completing the questionnaire of 2,280 questions in 384 pages, which covers a wide range of areas, such as political stability and fight against corruption.

The EU agreed last month to formally approve Albania's membership application that the country submitted in April. The questionnaire is to help the European Commission form an opinion on Albania's application.

Albania is now in a deep political crisis, triggered by last June's parliamentary elections, which the Socialist opposition alleged were manipulated by the Democrats led by Berisha.

The opposition, led by Tirana Mayor Edi Rama, is holding country-wide demonstrations, asking for recounting of some ballots. They threaten to continue their boycotting of the country's parliament until their demands are met.

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