Albania's catching up (November 2009)
During the summer, Albania was taking things a bit slower due to the elections in June 2009. However, the government produced an action plan on 29 July 2009, with ambitious but still realistic deadlines to meet the remaining roadmap conditions. On 16 September the new government pledged to achieve "free movement of Albanians in the Schengen area within the first year of the government mandate".
This soon translated into concentrated activities in Albania to achieve the remaining benchmarks. In October/November 2009, ESI and their partner organisation in Albania, the European Movement in Albania, analysed the Albanian government's regularly updated readiness reports, including the then most recent of 2 November. Like in Bosnia's case, we came to the conclusion that Albania had achieved significant progress, bringing it to approximately the same level of implementation that Serbia and Montenegro had achieved in May 2009.
Fortunately, this has been recognised by the European Parliament, EU member states (see statement attached to the European Parliament Opinion of 12 November 2009), and the European Commission. The Commission sent an EU national expert mission to Albania (and one to Bosnia, too) in December 2009 to assess progress under block 1.
In February 2010, national experts assessed the situation in Albania and Bosnia as regards blocks 2 and 3.