EU Deadline on Albania political crisis expires

An unofficial deadline set in a meeting in Strasbourg for Albanian political leaders to resolve the country’s political crisis expired on Thursday with no solution in sight.

After meeting with EU representatives in Strasbourg two weeks ago, Albania’s main political parties have failed to reach an agreement to overcome the political stalemate that has plagued the country for almost a year.

Prime Minister Sali Berisha from the ruling Democratic Party and opposition leader Edi Rama of the Socialists have been locked in a stalemate over the results of the June 28, 2009 parliamentary elections, which Berisha’s party narrowly won.

Berisha and Rama continue to disagree on the powers and procedures that should be followed by the parliamentary commission charged with investigating alleged fraud in the elections.

Rama and Berisha met with representatives of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on May 20. EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele was also present for the talks.

A group of legal experts from Brussels visited Albania this week in an effort to find points that might bring the stances of the two Albanian political parties closer.

A new meeting sponsored by the European Parliament is expected to follow in the coming days. EU officials have previously warned that the country risks having its application for candidate status frozen unless a compromise to the crisis is reached.

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