BELGRADE – Albania must pass anti-corruption reforms of its judiciary on Thursday or sacrifice its hopes of starting negotiations to join the EU, MEPs warned.

The Thursday deadline is the last possible one, Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner responsible for EU’s neighbourhood policy and enlargement, told MEPs, reports.

He spoke in a hastily organised session of the Parliament foreign affairs committee, which also discussed the aftermath of the foiled Turkish coup.

“We want to make sure that the legislation has teeth,” Hahn said. He added that the EU institutions also needed time to monitor how the reform worked.

It is widely assumed that if Albania passes the test, the December EU summit could decide to launch accession talks.

The Albanian mafia is, according to various reports, becoming a major threat to the EU. Statements in favour of a ‘Greater Albania’ are also hardly conducive to the country’s rapprochement with the EU.

Albania obtained the status of EU candidate country in June 2014. The next step of its path toward EU accession is starting accession negotiations.

The country has disappointed its EU partners with its protracted in-fighting between government and opposition. That has resulted in an inability to pass legislation and encouraged to corruption and organised crime.