EU Commissioner Hahn and Dutch FM stress need for further, more stable reforms

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 17, 2019 13:56

EU Commissioner Hahn and Dutch FM stress need for further, more stable reforms

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  • Albania is going through a tough moment of political tension, with the opposition having announced it will soon launch protests to bring about the government’s downfall.

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TIRANA, Jan. 18 – European Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn visited Tirana on Thursday evening, meeting Prime Minister Edi Rama to discuss progress in reforms related to EU integration and recent political developments in the region.

“The Commissioner underlined that it is important to keep up with last year’s good impetus to deliver tangible results in the process of reforms, which is crucial given the future decision of the EU Council regarding the opening of accession negotiations with Albania in June 2019,” a press release distributed by the Delegation of the European Union to Tirana said after the meeting.

The rule of law and the fight against organized crime and corruption are considered key issues for the country’s future EU integration.

“The justice reform continues to yield results and institutional reform of the judiciary needs to be completed within the next few weeks. Commissioner Hahn noted the recent actions against organized crime as a positive sign in this regard, which however should be part of a continuation of solid achievements and followed by penal action and punishment,” the press release said.

However, Albania is going through a tough moment of political tension, with the opposition having announced it will soon launch protests to bring about the government’s downfall.

In this context, Hahn said the engagement of the Rama government in bringing the reforms forward is essential for the country’s EU integration, part of which is establishing a functional dialogue with the country’s opposition.

Still problematic is also the high number of Albanian asylum-seekers in EU member states, an issue Hahn did not fail to mention.

“The Commissioner voiced concern over the still high number of unfounded asylum applications by Albanian citizens in several EU member states,” the press release read.

Similar concerns were raised by the Netherlands’ Foreign Minister Stefan Blok on Thursday, upon his official visit to Tirana with counterpart Ditmir Bushati.

“It is important to keep focus on the consolidation of the judicial reforms and make further progress in the establishment of a solid track record of investigations, prosecutions and convictions in combating organized crime and corruption,” Blok said, highlighting the still-necessary progress on the side of the Albanian government.

Blok, too, particularly stressed the issue of asylum-seekers, which has been one of the main reasons the Netherlands belonged in one of the three countries that rejected Albania’s opening of accession negotiations.

“Another topic included migration and Albania’s continued efforts to discourage people to travel to EU countries to apply for asylum. Let me repeat here, that such attempts will be fruitless in almost all cases. We work together closely with the Albanian authorities to combat this issue,” the Dutch Embassy statement read regarding Blok’s visit to Tirana.

Blok highlighted that although the Netherlands’ does, in principle, support Albania’s EU path, its decision to give the country a green light in moving forwards will only depend on the EC’s scheduled progress report.

 

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times January 17, 2019 13:56