Editorial: Accession negotiations- don’t pretend to ignore the long list of conditions!

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 1, 2020 15:11

Editorial: Accession negotiations- don’t pretend to ignore the long list of conditions!

TIRANA TIMES EDITORIAL

The important decision of the Council of the EU to finally give the green light to Albania and North Macedonia regarding the opening of accession negotiations was received with some degree of nonchalance by the Albanian majority. Claiming that the delays in this decision had started to ‘smell stale’, Prime Minister Rama conveniently seemed to forget the long list of conditions put forward for Albania. These conditions that have to be fulfilled, before the first and second intergovernmental conferences, are a combination of the existing nine conditions put by the German Bundestag last fall and six new ones. 

In their entirety, the list reflects the need to enable the basic institutions of the democratic state to perform their core functions and especially the need to put in place the norms for free and fair elections. These include the approval and implementation of the Electoral Reform, the functioning of the highest courts and other concrete steps of the justice reform with particular focus on combating corruption and crime. There are also some miscellaneous conditions that result from more short term political agendas of some member states such as stepping up the prevention of asylum seekers or implementing the law on minorities. Another new condition responds to a newly generated issue with the proposed draconian law on media which the EU strongly requests to be revised. 

The long and arduous task list is crucial and the decision to sidestep around it in the first public declarations is sadly telling. The homework has augmented significantly. Just to keep in mind, North Macedonia got no conditions at all to go forward with the first step of the intergovernmental conference. For this list to be accomplished the need to include in the process of these reforms the real stakeholders and to seek real compromise through political dialogue is painfully clear. 

When proceeding with this homework one approach should prevail: all these measures and actions requested from us are the right ones. These are fair requests that stem from, not even from the new methodology but from the very essence of the political criteria. These will help first and foremost Albania to escape its destructive transition legacy of dreadlock, corruption, manipulation of elections and individual authoritarianism. 

They require not only responsibility but a genuine correct attitude towards their validity. We need to let go once and for all the “check the box” approach that often has also been encouraged by the stance of certain international actors at the expense of real impact.

Albania got good news! It also got a strong and important reminder that unless all stakeholders get to work soon, we might realize in a few weeks time that once again we had been celebrating too early!  

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times April 1, 2020 15:11