Brussels has declared several times that 2018 should be a key year for Albania, and there are several reasons for it.
The country is very close to opening the accession negotiations in the months to come, which will be definitive for the EU path.
The situation will be clearer in April when the European Commission will present the progress report for Albania.
The Enlargement commissioner, Johannes Hahn, shared the optimism of Albanians that the evaluations would be positive. He reminded that there has not been negative feedback from any of the member countries.
Besides this, the Commission will present the new enlargement strategy next month, a document that has a clear vision for Western Balkan, including Albania.
Brussels has welcomed the establishment of Vetting institutions and underlined the importance of their success as a step ahead towards the judiciary reform.
These are the arguments that lean on the positive side, but truth is that Albania, according to EuropeWesternBalkans, has a low record of punishing main figures of the drug traffic and other activities of organized crime, based on the Freedom House report of past year.
Corruption within the public sector remains one of the biggest challenges of the country towards the EU. It is no longer a surprise that whenever high-level EU officials talk about positive premises, they also remind the need for a rigorous implementation of the reforms.
Another problem the country is facing is that of EU immigrants. The number of Albanians immigrating to EU countries is still high.
Only in France, according to the French Office for Protection of Refugees, Pascal Brice, the number of asylum seekers reached the highest peak in 40 years, with Albanians on top of the list.