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The Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha is due to visit Prague
The Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha is due to visit Prague on April 28, where he is expected to submit an application on EU candidate status, Czech media said on Saturday.

Albania along with Croatia became NATO members in April.

The Czech government's press service has made no official comments on the reports, but said that during the Albanian premier's visit to Prague "journalists were indeed in for a surprise."

Berisha has said EU membership is a key aim for the once-isolated country in the run up to parliamentary elections in June.

EU enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, has said, however, that Tirana needs to take steps to ensure its parliamentary elections meet international standards before applying for membership.

Albania's application should contain details of its democratic achievements and changes introduced in the country Majlinda Bregu Albanian minister for integration said earlier.

"As a NATO member Albania is carrying out reforms, and is obliged to conduct free and fair elections that are a necessary condition for EU entry," she said.

Albania has been a parliamentary democracy since 1991 following years of communist-style dictatorship under then leader Enver Hoxha, who died in 1983.

Although Albania is one of the poorest states in Europe, economic growth has helped reduce the amount of people living in poverty by a third according to a study carried out by the World Bank, UN and Albania's statistics institute.


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