EP resolution calls on Albania to complete electoral reform and protect minorities

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 3, 2017 11:45

EP resolution calls on Albania to complete electoral reform and protect minorities

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  • “Free and fair elections are critical for Albania’s advancement in the EU accession process,” the document notes.

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BRUSSELS, Jan. 31 - The European Parliament is expected to approve a resolution on Albania which encourages the completion of the electoral reform and calls on authorities to approve the legal framework for the protection of ethnic minorities.

An amendment to the resolution calls on the Ad-Hoc Commission for the Electoral Reform “to finalize the review of the Electoral Code and address recommendations made by OSCE/ODIHR.”

The document also underlines the importance of “transparency in funding of political parties” and holding “free and fair elections in line with international standards.”

The amendment of the resolution highlights the need of having a “depoliticized and independent electoral administration.”

“Free and fair elections are critical for Albania’s advancement in the EU accession process,” the document notes.

The resolution, prepared by rapporteur Knut Fleckenstein, will be part of the Annual Report on Albania. According to the document which points recent frictions between Albania and Greece, good neighboring relations are a criteria for enlargement process.

“The two sides must avoid any action or declaration that can have a negative impact on these relations,” the resolution said.

MEP Notis Maria added a special amendment to the resolution, asking Albania  to “respect the Greek ethnic minority and immediately stop the unlawful seizure of the properties of Greeks in the region of Himara.”

In terms of the decriminalization process, members of the European Parliament call on political parties to abide to the decriminalization law and make sure that candidates in the upcoming elections have no criminal records.

The resolution also calls for “a credible application of the law for the reevaluation of judges, prosecutors and legal advisers,” as well as increased efforts to fight cultivation of drugs and organized crime.

In regards to the media in Albania, members of the European Parliament noted the limited progress made in terms of media freedom in 2016.

“We stress the critical importance of the independence and professionalism of public and private media. We’re concerned about the political impact on the media and self-censorship spread among journalists,” the resolution reads.

The document agreed by the majority of the MEPs will be initially voted at the Committee of Foreign Affairs at the European Parliament and in a plenary session in Strasbourg in mid-February.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times February 3, 2017 11:45