No Albania EU membership without justice reform: Mogherini

Albania must carry out a "deep reform" of its justice system before it can be considered for European Union membership, the bloc`s foreign policy chief said during a visit to Tirana.

Qarku i Tiranës: Albania must carry out a "deep reform" of its justice system before it can be considered for European Union membership, the bloc`s foreign policy chief said during a visit to Tirana.

The country, which has been a NATO member since 2009, became a candidate for EU membership in 2014 but was told it would need to tackle corruption and organised crime before it could be admitted.

"A deep reform of the judicial system will open the way to the beginning of negotiations for Albania to become part of the EU," said Federica Mogherini on Thursday. 

The Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe, has been helping Albanian and foreign experts draft a reform bill, due to be presented to parliament soon.

Lawmakers voted in December to adopt laws that would have barred anyone who had been implicated in corruption scandals or criminal activities to stand in an election for public office.

But arguments around the constitutional amendments necessary to bring the bill into force have blocked the process for weeks. 

The Albanian government hopes to begin negotiations on EU membership by the end of the year.

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