The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), which provides a comprehensive contractual framework for EU-Albanian relations, took effect on 1 April 2009. The Agreement sets out a comprehensive contractual framework between Albania and the EU.
In the same month Albania applied to join the EU. In the autumn of 2009, the Council asked the European Commission to draw up an Opinion on the application. The Commission's Opinion, which it adopted in late 2010, sets out the criteria for EU membership in detail and identifies 12 key priorities for Albania to tackle in preparation for membership talks.
Albanian citizens were granted visa-free travel to the Schengen Area at the end of 2010.
In October 2013, the Commission recommended that Albania be granted EU candidate status, on the understanding that the country continues to take action in the fight against organised crime and corruption.
In November 2013 the Commission embarked on a High-Level Dialogue with Albania, focusing on reforms in key EU-related areas including
In June 2014, the EU decided to grant candidate status to Albania.
The Commission issues an annual Progress Report which assesses Albania's progress towards the goal of joining the EU.
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