EU official tells Albania’s opposition its protests are counter-productive

A senior European Union official has said that the parliamentary boycott by opposition parties in Albania seriously undermines the country’s path to potential membership of the bloc.

Christian Danielsson, who leads the EU’s enlargement negotiation team, met in Tirana with political leaders on March 7 and said the boycott by the Democratic Party-led opposition is “counter-productive and undermines Albania’s efforts with reforms.” Opposition MPs began their boycott on February 21.

During his visit to Tirana, Mr Danielsson also urged Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama to pursue reforms in all areas, and in particular in the fight against crime and corruption. “Albania will need make a convincing case in June if it wants the EU to open membership negotiations,” said Mr Danielson.

The opposition has accused Mr Rama of corruption and having links to organised crime, and has called for an early election. Opposition supporters have organised a number of demonstrations, some of which have turned violent.