EU lawmakers: Albania opposition fight damages path to bloc

A group of European Parliament lawmakers has strongly denounced the resignation of Albania's opposition from parliament and violence in recent protests.

A delegation of the European Parliament visiting Albania Thursday also called on the governing majority to open talks with the opposition to solve the political crisis.

Albania, a NATO member since 2009, was granted EU candidate status in 2014 and hopes to launch membership negotiations in June.

The center-right Democratic Party-led opposition claims the leftist government of Prime Minister Edi Rama is corrupt and has links to organized crime. They want a caretaker administration to hold early elections.

Opposition protests in the past two weeks turned violent, with supporters attacking police and officers responding with tear gas. Dozens of protesters and police were injured.