WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on the conferral of European Union candidate status for Albania:

“With today’s announcement conferring EU candidate status, Albania has cleared another hurdle on the way toward EU membership and full European integration. I congratulate the people of Albania, their leaders, and their government for sending a clear message to the European Union that their country is ready for the shared commitment and responsibility of joining the EU.

“As co-chair of the Albanian Issues Caucus, Albania can count on my continued support as it moves forward on this path. While some challenges remain, over the past 25 years, Albania has moved remarkably quickly from the indignity of a totalitarian system to the promise of a maturing democracy. All Albanians have much to be proud of today.”