World

Merkel assures Albania, Western Balkans of European prospects, urges reforms, tangible results

  • Visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and host Albanian counterpart Edi Rama, left, walk the Guard of Honor in the first stop of her Balkan tour in Tirana Wednesday, July 8, 2015. Merkel has urged Albania to fulfill five categories presented by the European Union in December regarding its public administration and justice system ahead of launching full membership talks. Last year Albania was granted candidate status. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

    Visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel and host Albanian counterpart Edi Rama, left, walk the Guard of Honor in the first stop of her Balkan tour in Tirana Wednesday, July 8, 2015. Merkel has urged Albania to fulfill five categories presented by the European Union in December regarding its public administration and justice system ahead of launching full membership talks. Last year Albania was granted candidate status. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)  (The Associated Press)

  • Visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and host Albanian counterpart Edi Rama, leave the dais to walk the Guard of Honor in the first stop of her Balkan tour in Tirana Wednesday, July 8, 2015. Merkel has urged Albania to fulfill five categories presented by the European Union in December regarding its public administration and justice system ahead of launching full membership talks. Last year Albania was granted candidate status. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

    Visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and host Albanian counterpart Edi Rama, leave the dais to walk the Guard of Honor in the first stop of her Balkan tour in Tirana Wednesday, July 8, 2015. Merkel has urged Albania to fulfill five categories presented by the European Union in December regarding its public administration and justice system ahead of launching full membership talks. Last year Albania was granted candidate status. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)  (The Associated Press)

  • Visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel adjusts her headphone feed during a news conference after meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, on the first stop of the Balkan tour in Tirana Wednesday, July 8, 2015. Merkel has urged Albania fulfill five categories presented by the European Union in December regarding its public administration and justice system ahead of launching full membership talks. Last year Albania was granted the candidate status. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)

    Visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel adjusts her headphone feed during a news conference after meeting with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, on the first stop of the Balkan tour in Tirana Wednesday, July 8, 2015. Merkel has urged Albania fulfill five categories presented by the European Union in December regarding its public administration and justice system ahead of launching full membership talks. Last year Albania was granted the candidate status. (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)  (The Associated Press)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has assured Albania and Western Balkan countries there is no artificial delay in their EU entry prospects but says they should deepen reforms to achieve the required standards.

Merkel on Wednesday started a two-day tour of Albania, Serbia and Bosnia focusing on their EU integration progress as well as economic and energy issues.

Albania, which was granted candidate status last year, must fulfill five categories regarding its public administration and justice system ahead of launching full membership talks.

Earlier this week the German government, one of the biggest donors to post-communist Albania, gave 107.5 million euros ($119.3 million) to promote the country's energy and water supply sectors.

The chancellor continues her trip to the Serbian capital, Belgrade, later Wednesday and to Sarajevo, Bosnia, Thursday.