EC again recommends opening of Albania-EU accession talks

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 30, 2019 16:08

EC again recommends opening of Albania-EU accession talks

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  • This is the second time the EC recommends to the European parliament the opening of accession negotiations for Albania - last year, the EP parliament rejected the suggestion due to some member states, such as the Netherlands, not being convinced with Albania’s progress in the fields of fighting organized crimes and corruption.

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TIRANA, May 29 – The European Commission again recommended opening membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia on Wednesday, as announced by Commissioner for Enlargement Johannes Hahn during the presentation of the enlargement package to the European Parliament’s Foreign Committee.

“Albania has moved reforms forward, especially a major transformation of the justice system, including an unprecedented reassessment process for judges and prosecutors,” said Hahn.

For North Macedonia he said not only that it followed its own reforms, but also that it reached a historic agreement with Greece, solving the longstanding name issue.

The European Commissioner stressed that “both countries have moved ahead with reforms, particularly in the fields set by the Council in June 2018. In order to remain credible, the European Union must adhere to its commitments and respond clearly and positively when the countries meet their obligations,” Hahn said.

In the summary of the EC assessment sent to the EC and Albanian parliament, it is noted that the country “has continued to make good progress and has demonstrated its continued determination to advance with the European Union agenda.

Regarding to the deadlock the country is facing currently, the commission states that “the opposition parties, most of which resigned their parliamentary mandates in February 2019, should engage constructively in democratic institutions and engage in a broad European consensus.”

It also recommended that Albania should improve transparency and control over the financing of political parties.

Concerning the electoral reform, no progress has been made to address and complement the OSCE/ODIHR electoral reform recommendations.

It also mentioned, despite the mostly positive comments about the justice reform, that the Constitutional Court should have nine members, but only one of them has remained due to resignations, retirements and the vetting process.

The EC report did say that police have stepped up operations to catch criminal organizations.

But according to the Commission, “the creation of a sustainable register of proactive investigations, prosecutions and punishments in the fight against corruption at all levels and organized crime remains a long-term challenge that continues to require further strengthened and sustained efforts by Albania, including operational cooperation with EU Member States.

This is the third time the EC recommends to the European parliament the opening of accession negotiations for Albania – last year, the EP parliament rejected the suggestion due to some member states, such as the Netherlands, not being convinced with Albania’s progress in the fields of fighting organized crimes and corruption.

Political experts have doubted whether all EP member states will unanimously agree to open accession negotiations with Albania this year as well, considering the tense situation the country finds itself in.

Recently, the Dutch parliament formally requested that a visa regime be re-introduced for Albanian citizens, claiming they are a driving force of criminality in the region and many of them unjustifiably asking for asylum, considering Albania is a country of safe origin.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 30, 2019 16:08