Albania's opposition has boycotted a resolution expressing support for the launch of negotiations on joining the European Union.

Only the governing left-wing Socialist Party voted in support on Thursday. Prime Minister Edi Rama called the opposition's boycott "an unparalleled act of historic infidelity to the country."

The opposition has said it wants the talks but accuses the government of having links to crime that hurt the country's chances. The government denies links to crime.

The EU's 28 member states must agree unanimously for any country to join. Not all of the countries have decided to support Albania's proposal to launch negotiations next month.

Accession to the bloc has been a powerful driver of political and democratic reform in post-communist countries.