EU, US experts oversee vetting of Albania's judiciary

The European Union and United States are sending five experts to Albania to assess how the country evaluates the personal and professional backgrounds of judges and prosecutors.

A statement from the EU office in Tirana on Wednesday said an International Monitoring Operation with three Europeans and two Americans will oversee the creation of panels that will vet some 800 sitting judges and prosecutors.

Reforming its justice system is key to Albania's effort to become an EU member.

A reform package approved last year will launch a legal overhaul meant to restructure the 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 this year to get approval for launching membership negotiations.