Albania Headed For The EU?

Europe's poorest country, Albania, could get fast-track approval for membership in the 15-nation European Union (EU), until now an alliance restricted to prosperous nations or former communist countries that have opted for a market economy. Albania, a mountainous country with subsistence agriculture and next to no industry, is trying to win diplomatic advantage -- and automatic EU financial aid for the long term -- for accepting more than 300,000 refugees from Kosovo. The first step toward full EU membership could be an association agreement, an interim step being taken by 10 other countries in central and eastern Europe.

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