(ANA-MPA) -- The eurozone heads of state and government late Thursday in Brussels agreed a new 109 billion euro support programme for Greece supported by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and with the voluntary contribution of the private sector to "fully cover the financing gap", over which Greek prime minister George Papandreou expressed full satisfaction, calling it a "European 'Marshall Plan'" for the country. Papandreou expressed full satisfaction with the decisions taken at the extraordinary eurozone summit, speaking at a pres conference after the marathon deliberations. Thursday's eurozone summit decisions, the prime minister continued, ensure: the long-term sustainability of the Greek debt and create the conditions for full yield of the stabilisation programme for the Greek economy; put into effect an integrated support programme for the Greek real economy, aiming at the speediest possible return to positive growth rates; ensure the country's borrowing needs up to 2020 with respect to the tradable part of the debt (non-tradable is the part of the debt in the possession of central banks, eurozone countries and the IMF);
Ashton and Füle lamented the fallout from the recent mayoral vote in Tirana (see 'Background') and used simple and unusual wording to convey the message that the electoral system in Albania needs "urgent" and "thorough" reform.
"The elections in Tirana were not good as they demonstrated beyond doubt that the electoral framework needs to be reformed," the top EU officials stated.
In their written message, Ashton and Füle call on the Albanian authorities to follow the recommendations of the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe's specialised body set up to provide urgent constitutional assistance to Central and Eastern Europe.
"It is time for political forces in Albania to overcome the political stalemate and return to a level of political dialogue that would allow the proper functioning of key democratic institutions, notably the parliament," the two representatives state.
EU officials recently denounced the "lack of political maturity" in Albania, who officially says it would like to achieve EU candidate status by the end of this year.
In an unprecedented gesture, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso cancelled a trip to Albania last May, signalling that patience with the EU hopeful was wearing thin in Brussels circles.
EU insiders had hoped that Croatia's recent successful closure of the accession negotiations would give new momentum to the remaining membership hopefuls in the Western Balkans: Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo. However, with the exception of Serbia, the region's EU hopefuls appear to have provided more disappointment than success recently.
Albania has experienced a difficult transition to democracy partly due to the fact that under communism, the country was a de facto autarchy which had almost no contact with the outside world.