Albania – along with other Western Balkans countries – was identified as a potential candidate for EU membership during the Thessaloniki European Council Summit in June 2003. In 2009, Albania submitted its formal application for EU membership. Based on the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council issued in 2010, before the accession negotiations could be formally opened, Albania still has to achieve the necessary degree of compliance with the membership criteria and in particular meet the 12 key priorities identified in the Opinion.
The Commission recommended that Albania should be granted EU candidate country status, subject to completion of key measures in the areas of judicial and public administration reform and revision of parliamentary rules of procedure.
With regard to the approximation in environment and climate sectors, the progress has been achieved mainly in the sector of horizontal legislation, waste management, water quality and nature protection.
The level of alignment and administrative capacity is still limited despite progress on the policy-making level and on increasing awareness. Albania has been first among the Enlargement countries to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016. Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Albania has submitted its 3rd National communication report. The government of Albania has drafted the national adaptation plan, which assesses climate-related risks and adaptation scenarios for the coastal region which is currently being scrutinised by the sectoral ministries and other governmental agencies. The work on a National Strategy for Climate Change, a national action plan for mitigation and a specific law on climate change is in final stages. The strategy reviews inter alia the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution - INDC (2030 and 2050 targets). The draft mitigation strategy is also being scrutinised by the sectoral ministries.
The main beneficiary institution of RIPAP in Albania is the Ministry of Environment.