Albania's bid to become a member state of the European Union has suffered a third postponement. The Balkan country must deliver a number of substantive reforms to comply with the criteria needed to become a full member state.
The Tirana Times reported Albania was unable to convince EU member states to grant it official candidate status. In addition to making crucial reforms the former Communist nation must also demonstrate progress in tackling organized crime and corruption.
According to Europa the 2013 Albanian elections will be a crucial step in determining how successful reform is progressing.
The U.S. ambassador in Tirana, Alexander A. Arvizu, has warned of a rise of nationalist rhetoric in Albania. The Boston Globe reported the ambassador was concerned this new development could potentially destabilize the Balkans and fuel ethnic tensions.
Albanian nationalists favour uniting the country with Kosovo as part of their grand scheme of a greater Albania. Digital Journal recently reported Athens is also increasingly concerned about "the rising incidence of nationalism and anti-Greek voices in Albania." Tensions between Greece and Albania were exacerbated on the 100th anniversary of Albanian independence when Prime Minister Sali Berisha referred to Greek territory as Albanian.