EU backs Albania’s justice reform continuity

13 Maj 2024, 23:47Politics TEMA

EU backs Albania’s justice reform continuity

May 13, 2024 - The European Union Delegation in Tirana has formally responded to Prime Minister Edi Rama’s proposal for a sweeping new cycle of reforms. The initiative, which focuses on enhancing governance, strengthening the rule of law, and intensifying the fight against corruption, has received a cautious welcome from the EU.

Ambassador Silvio Gonzato, the Head of the EU Delegation, had previously provided a preliminary assessment of Mr. Rama’s proposals. Following this, a statement released on Monday afternoon revealed the Delegation’s position, stating it “welcomes any initiative to further advance Albania’s reform processes for good governance, the rule of law, and anti-corruption.”

The EU, alongside the United States, played a crucial role as supporters and sponsors of the Justice Reform initiated eight years ago. The Delegation’s response highlighted the “irreversibility of the 2016 justice reform” as a fundamental principle, echoing the resolution presented to the Albanian parliament that seeks to “ensure the irreversibility” of this landmark reform.

The ruling Socialist Party anticipates the creation of a special parliamentary commission similar to the one established for the Justice Reform. Prime Minister Rama has extended an invitation to the opposition to collaborate on this initiative, despite significant ideological differences. However, the opposition has thus far been critical of the proposal. Lulzim Basha, the leader of the Democratic Party, has dismissed it as “empty rhetoric” and has pointed the finger at Prime Minister Rama for the proliferation of corruption within the nation. Gazmend Bardhi, the chairman of the Democratic parliamentary group, expressed openness to any reform that could propel Albania’s European integration forward. Yet, he remains skeptical about the feasibility of such progress under Prime Minister Rama’s leadership, which he deems corrupt and obstructive.

The EU Delegation emphasized the necessity for the proposed parliamentary process to be evidence-based, transparent, and to garner strong bipartisan support. It also called for comprehensive and meaningful consultation with all relevant institutions and stakeholders, including civil society.

The Socialists are confident that these reforms will hasten Albania’s journey towards EU membership, citing the analytical review conducted as part of the EU negotiation process. The EU Delegation, in its response, stressed the importance of aligning the initiative with the findings of the legislative review reports (screening process) and with Albania’s commitments in the EU accession process.

The US embassy described the proposal as “promising” and commended efforts that build on the success of previous reforms. It highlighted the importance of inclusive efforts that unite political groups, civil society, businesses, and others to advance reforms crucial for Albania’s path to EU membership and integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.

In conclusion, the EU Delegation reminded that the EU is currently providing significant assistance to Albania in areas of governance, rule of law, and anti-corruption. It also expressed readiness to increase support as needed, reinforcing the EU’s commitment to Albania’s EU accession aspirations.

This article is based on reporting by the Voice of America, Albanian service. It has been translated and adapted from the original Albanian into English


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