Albania. Parliament adopted a series of constitutional
amendments in July with the aim of reducing the political
influence over the judiciary and combating corruption and
organized crime. The reform package was a key condition of
the EU for Albania to start membership negotiations. It was
adopted unanimously after 18 months of negotiations in which
the Democratic Party, which is leading the opposition, has
long opposed foreign experts to participate when judges are
appointed. After mediation by the US and the EU, and the
threat of withdrawing the country's candidate status in the
EU, agreement was reached. Despite this, the opposition
subsequently appealed against the legislative changes, but
the Constitutional Court finally approved them in December.
countryaah, the second royal wedding in Albania's history was held in
October, when 34-year-old Crown Prince Leka married actress
Elia Zaharia. The semi-official wedding ceremony was
conducted by the mayor of Tirana, while representatives of
both Muslim and Christian communities gave their blessing.
Leka is an adviser to the Foreign Minister. The only royal
wedding held in the country was when Leka's grandfather King
Zog married in 1938, a year before he was expelled from
power and the monarchy in practice ceased.
Around 20,000 Albanian Catholics participated in the
Blessing of 38 Catholics executed or tortured during the
Communist era, between 1945 and 1985, in November.
Representatives of the Vatican also attended the ceremony,
in a cathedral in Shkodėr.