The EU General Affairs Council granted the Balkan nation of Albania EU candidate status June 24.

The Council granted Albania candidate status “in light of its… continued progress… subject to endorsement by the European Council,” although the Council also urged Albania to increase its efforts to combat corruption and organized crime, reform its public administration and judiciary, and protect human rights, including with anti-discrimination policies for minorities and property rights. The council also requested the Western Balkan nation do more to relieve pressure on the EU related to immigration.

“The Council… expects Albania to intensify its support for the timely reduction of migratory pressures on the EU including by pursuing its efforts to ensure the fulfilment of all conditions of the visa roadmap and by taking further steps to address the issue of unfounded asylum applications lodged by Albanian nationals,” the EU stated in a press report.

“The Council welcomes Albania’s continued constructive engagement in regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations as well as its alignment with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy.”

The decision is now subject to approval by the European Council.

By James Haleavy