Europe

Albania's constitutional court suspends law key to EU hopes

Albania's Constitutional Court has suspended a law that requires the vetting of the personal and professional backgrounds of judges and prosecutors, key to judicial reforms needed to convince the European Union to launch membership negotiations.

The court suspended the law to seek the opinion of the Council of Europe's Venice Commission, which already has reviewed the reform package prepared with help from EU and U.S. experts. The suspension was sought by the opposition Democratic party, which opposed the vetting law.

That suspension, however, will only temporarily block the launch of a legal overhaul meant to restructure the justice system to ensure that judges and prosecutors are independent from politics, and to root out bribery.

Albania was granted EU candidate status in 2014 and hopes to launch negotiations this year.