MEPs urge Albanian gov't to fulfill EU conditions

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 23, 2020 10:08

MEPs urge Albanian gov't to fulfill EU conditions

TIRANA, June 23 - Members of the European Parliament urged the Albanian government to fulfill the 15 EU conditions until the first Intergovernmental Conference, in order to commence negotiations.

During the PE Foreign Affairs Committee's Monday plenary session, several MEPs convened to discuss the current situation in Albania, including the country's progress towards fulfilling the 15 conditions as well as the demolition of the National Theatre on May 17.

The European Commission's Directorate General for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Calavera urged political parties to continue the dialogue between them to make progress on the electoral reform, one of the 15 EU conditions, while at the same time condemning the demolition of the National Theatre.

"We, together with the MEPs, express our regret for the demolition of the National Theater, despite the fact that we called for dialogue. We continue to call for the rule of law and the protection of cultural heritage, which is a fundamental right," Calavera said.

David McAllister, chair of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, joined Calavera in condemning the demolition of the Theatre, calling on "all political forces to move beyond bulldozing and boycotting tactics, and to focus on advancing the country on its European path."

He further stressed the importance of finalizing and implementing the electoral reform, as well as forming functioning High and Constitutional Courts in addition to fighting against corruption and organized crime.

Furthermore, the EPP rapporteur on Albania in the European Parliament David Lega, criticized the Albanian government for exerting pressure on the media while neglecting the fight against drug cultivation in the country.

Lega pointed out that Albanian cannabis remains to be a major issue in Europe and is expected to increase, despite the fact that the fight against drug cultivation isone of the EU conditions. He further stated that the 'anti-defamation' package is "unconstitutional, illegal and clearly violates the very basic democratic principles of rule of law and human rights", warning that its approval will put Albania's EU accession on the line.

Additionally, MEP Michael Gahler stressed that high officials need to be held accountable by law.

"The fight against organized crime and the investigation of anyone involved in vote-buying are two of the 15 EU conditions that Albania must meet before the start of the first intergovernmental conference on membership negotiations," he said. On the other hand, German MEP Bernhard Zimniok, said Albania should not be sent anymore money, emphasizing that if the country joins the Union, Albanian citizens have a great tendency to leave and work in other European countries, which would turn into an issue for the EU.

Germany will be the next EU Member State to take over the Presidency of the Council in July and is supposed to convene the first intergovernmental conference. Until then, Albania has to fulfill several conditions including the adoption of the electoral reform, the establishment of the Constitutional and Supreme Court, the establishment of specialized anti-corruption bodies of the SPAK and the BKH, as well as the fight against crime and corruption.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 23, 2020 10:08