Wednesday, February 17, 2010

EU says political crisis harms Albania's integration

17 February 2010

(TIRANA) - European Union ambassadors on Wednesday warned Albania that a month-long political stalemate was endangering the country's European ties.

"The EU perspective for Albania is at stake," said Manuel Montobbio de Balanzo, the ambassador of Spain, which currently holds the EU rotating presidency.

The EU ambassadors in Tirana met Wednesday to boost Albanian political leaders' efforts to end the political stalemate.

The socialist-led opposition has been boycotting parliament ever since June after they contested the results of parliamentary elections. The boycott means that many much needed reforms are blocked for the time being.

The socialists are demanding a parliamentary probe into the elections, including a recount of votes, but Prime Minister Sali Berisha's ruling coalition have rejected this.

Albanian President Bamir Topi has pressured Berisha and opposition leader Edi Rama to try to find a solution but both leaders are sticking to their positions, according to sources from the two parties.

A Council of Europe mission is expected in Albania in the coming days to discuss the political crisis, diplomatic sources in Tirana said.

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