Political situation Need for systematic reforms
Albania's political parties have a strong tendency to work mainly for the benefit of their respective voter groups. Some important decisions, for instance on the reform of the judiciary, have only been taken as a result of international pressure.
The 2015 local elections and the 2017 parliamentary elections received largely positive comments from Election monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Monitors did, however, criticise some technical shortcomings and vote-buying.
A lack of legal certainty and weak public administration institutions are constraining the country's development. On the Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International in 2018, Albania is ranked 99th out of the 180 countries rated.
In April 2009, a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU came into force. Simultaneously, the Albanian government submitted its application to join the European Union. In June 2014, Albania was awarded candidate status by the EU.
Albania entertains friendly relations with its neighbours and supports the efforts of the international community to establish common security and economic structures in the region. It is a member of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) and the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC). Since April 2009, Albania has been a member of NATO. The country has also provided troops for numerous UN peace missions.