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Albanian parties pass key laws for progress towards EU

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(TIRANA) - Albania's deeply divided ruling and opposition parties joined forces in parliament on Thursday to adopt three key laws that are needed if the country is to get EU candidate status.

The laws -- on the Supreme Court, on parliament's rule of procedure, and one on the status of civil servants -- were passed after months of political disagreements between the ruling right-wing coalition and leftist opposition.

The opposition agreed to support the laws only under condition that they would come into effect on October 1, once a new parliament is convened following the June 23 legislative elections, socialist Ditmir Bushati told the parliament.

However, the key condition for EU candidate status for Albania remains that the parliamentary elections meet international standards.

The fight against corruption and organised crime is also an important condition that Tirana should meet to obtain the candidacy.

Several weeks ahead of the elections, political parties were still unable to solve the crisis of the central electoral commission following the resignation of three members from the opposition.

The EU ambassador in Tirana, Ettore Sequi, hailed the adoption of the laws as proof that Albanian politicians "have the capacity to work together in the interest of the country."

Tirana hopes that, having refused so twice, the European Commission will recommend that EU leaders give Albania the status of a candidate in its next progress report on the country.


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